New York City Sues Chipotle for $150M in Alleged Work Schedule Violations

May 7, 2021

Chipotle Mexican Grill is facing a $150 million lawsuit for allegedly violating New York City's predictable-scheduling law at the fast-casual restaurant chain's 80 to 90 locations in the city.

Among other mandates, the Fair Workweek Law requires retail and fast-food employers in the Big Apple to provide employees with 14 days of notice regarding schedule changes or pay employees a premium.

We've rounded up articles and resources from SHRM Online and other trusted media outlets on the news.

'Widespread' Violations Alleged

New York City officials said Chipotle's violations of the predictable-scheduling law were "widespread" from 2017 to 2019. The lawsuit claims that Chipotle changed employee schedules without proper notice, denied employees time off and failed to provide premium pay, in addition to other violations. The suit covers about 6,500 Chipotle workers in the city who experienced about three scheduling infractions on average each week, according to the lawsuit.  

(The New York Times)

Sick-Leave Violations Also Alleged

New York City officials also alleged that Chipotle violated the city's paid-sick-leave law by allowing employees to take only 24 hours of such leave each year—even though the law provides employees with up to 40 hours—and for denying employees time off to care for sick relatives (which is a covered reason for taking leave under the law).


Chipotle Calls Case 'Dramatic Overreach'

Chipotle plans to fight the charges. "We make it a practice not to comment on litigation and will not do so in this case, except to say the proceeding … is a dramatic overreach and Chipotle will vigorously defend itself," said Laurie Schalow, Chipotle's chief corporate affairs officer, in a statement to Restaurant Business. "Chipotle remains committed to its employees and their right to a fair, just and humane work environment that provides opportunities to all."

(Restaurant Business Online)

What Are Predictable-Scheduling Laws?

Predictable-scheduling laws usually target the retail and hospitality industries, where "on-call" or "just-in-time" scheduling has become commonplace. The laws generally require companies to post employees' work schedules in advance—usually seven to 14 days ahead of time—and provide "predictability pay" penalties when employers make last-minute schedule changes. New York City's Fair Workweek Law has been in effect since May 2017.

(SHRM Online)

Employment Protections Expanded for Fast-Food Workers

Another New York City ordinance, effective July 4, will end at-will employment for certain businesses in the fast-food industry by requiring covered employers that fire workers to do so for "just cause" following progressive discipline. The law also prohibits employers from significantly cutting employees' hours. At-will employment means an employer can fire a worker for any reason, with a few exceptions, such as unlawful discrimination. When just-cause dismissal is required, the termination must be for a reason as defined by a statute or collective bargaining agreement.

(SHRM Online)



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