Chipotle is the latest fast-food restaurant to be named in lawsuits filed by hundreds of workers across six states. The lawsuits have a common theme: that the employer required employees to work off the clock without pay, or that some employees were misclassified as “managers” to avoid paying overtime.
According to Summit Daily, a spokesman for Chipotle stood by the company’s labor practices, “dismissed the lawsuits as ‘nothing more than allegations,’” and highlighted the fact that the company often goes above and beyond its legal requirements, paying for meals and breaks.
U.S. Department of Labor investigators have administratively cited the chain for clocking employees out at the end of their shift but before they completed their work at a small number of stores or similar wage-hour violations in Oregon and Florida, and have ordered the stores to pay workers for unpaid time.
Lawsuits like the ones just filed in Colorado reflect a growing trend among hourly workers. According to federal judicial caseload and as reported by Summit Daily, “lawsuits for unpaid wages have increased 137 percent since 2004.” The increase of civil suits, which include attorneys’ fee provisions, serves as a reminder that business owners must credit employees for all hours worked.