Chipotle Worker Lawsuit Now Has Nearly 10,000 Plaintiffs

Image courtesy of Kerry Lannert

Nearly two years after a Chipotle employee filed a class-action seeking lawsuit accusing the fast casual restaurant of wage theft, the case has signed on nearly 10,000 former and current employees.

The lawsuit, originally filed in 2014, claimed that Chipotle would automatically clock workers out before they were actually finished completing required work or attending mandated after-shift meetings.

According to CNN, 9,961 current and former workers from nearly every state in which a Chipotle is located have sent in consent forms to join the suit as of Aug. 26.

The lawsuit centers mostly on what happens when stores close and employees begin the process of winding down operations for the day.

While workers are supposed to end their shifts between 11 p.m. and midnight at many restaurants, some employees tell CNN that they almost never leave on time.

In fact, some employees say they are required to stay after that time frame to finish cleaning, preparing for the next day, or to attend meetings. This wouldn’t be an issue, they say, if Chipotle’s system wasn’t set up to automatically clock workers out by 12:30 a.m. in most places.

“Chipotle routinely requires hourly-paid restaurant employees to punch out, and then continue working until they are given permission to leave,” according to the class action lawsuit, claiming that the issues stem from Chipotle’s desire to meet budget goals.

One employee tells CNN that he recalled working until 1 a.m. one day and asking a manager to make sure his hours were adjusted. When the man received his paycheck, the extra hours were missing.

The chain has denied the wage theft accusations, often claiming that it was simply a few rogue managers requiring employees to clock out and continue working.

However, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs say that argument doesn’t seem to hold much water now.

“Our view, especially given the number of people opting in, is that it’s a systematic problem at Chipotle,” Kent Williams of Williams Law Firm tells CNN.

Chipotle has been on the receiving end of several wage theft lawsuits. In 2014, a Minnesota man filed suit accusing Chipotle of not paying workers for duties performed after clocking out. The 29-year-old former employee claims that Chipotle would conduct training, meetings and other activities in which employees are “required to attend, but for which they are not allowed to punch in.”

Nearly 10,000 workers sue Chipotle for unpaid wages [CNN]

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