Chipotle to Pay State $2 Million for Thousands of Child Labor Violations

 by Patrick SargentJanuary 27, 2020

On Monday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey's office announced that restaurant chain Chipotle will pay $1.37 million in penalties for more than 13,000 child labor violations and other wage and hour law violations at each of its 50 corporate-owned locations in the state.

Chipotle will also pay $500,000 into a fund run by the AG's office that will go towards education programs about child labor and enforcement laws, as well as training and workforce development for young workers. 

“Chipotle is a major national restaurant chain that employs thousands of young people across the country and it has a duty to ensure minors are safe working in its restaurants,” said Healey. “We hope these citations send a message to other fast food chains and restaurants that they cannot violate our child labor laws and put young people at risk.”

The state issued four citations against Chipotle for violating the child labor and earned sick time laws, failing to make timely payment of wages, and records violations.

The investigation into Chipotle began in 2016 after the state received a complaint from a parent of an employee alleging that the minor worked past midnight at a Chipotle location in Beverly.

A review of Chipotle’s records revealed that minors routinely worked in violation of the child labor laws. Audits conducted by the AG’s Office and Chipotle of several Massachusetts Chipotle locations between 2015 and 2019 identified child labor violations such as minors working without valid work permits, too late into the evening, and too many hours per day and per week.

The investigation found the following:

  • Chipotle had regularly employed minors without work permits
  • Permitted dozens of 16- and 17-year old employees to work later than the law allows
  • Allowed minors to work beyond the nine-hour daily limit and 48-hour weekly limit
  • Did not properly notify employees of their rights under the earned sick time law
  • Failed to provide the AG’s Office with complete timekeeping records upon request
  • In some locations, failed to pay workers within six days of the end of a pay period

In fiscal year 2019, the AG’s Office issued 41 citations for child labor law violations totaling more than $487,000 in penalties, including four Qdoba Mexican restaurant locations in Central Massachusetts in August. 


Photo credit: JeepersMedia on Visualhunt / CC BY

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