- An investigation by the state Department of Labor found around 30,660 alleged violations involving minors at Chipotle restaurants located in New Jersey.
The Chipotle fast food chain will have to pay the state of New Jersey a fine of $7.75 million dollars as a result of an audit that found violations of child labor laws.
The fast food restaurant joins a long list of other large and small chains that have been sanctioned for various violations of labor standards, from child labor to wage theft.
In the case of Chipotle, the possible violations of child labor laws were detected in the exercise of an audit that the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development carried out in 2020.
The investigation found “approximately 30,660 alleged violations involving minors at Chipotle locations statewide,” according to information released in a statement.
According to the results of the audit, Chipotle would have breached the maximum number of hours that a minor can work, as well as the lack of “timely and efficient” breaks.
“After-school and summer employment can be of great value to both the young worker and the employer, but these jobs cannot come at the expense of treating employees fairly,” said Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo. in New Jersey.
Asaro-Angelo elaborated that the resolution for which Chipotle will pay the $7.75 million dollars is “a record agreement that represents an important public-private partnership aimed at protecting minors from abuse in the workplace.”
The announcement of the penalty against Chipotle came a week after ride-sharing company Uber was fined $100 million for misclassifying workers.
Meanwhile, the sanction imposed on Chipotle considers the payment of $7.7 million dollars in fines, plus another $85,000 dollars to pay attorneys’ fees.
The sanction was made public a few days after a group of workers at a Chipotle restaurant in Michigan decided to unionize.
A fund to protect child labor
To ensure that the funds Chipotle pays out actually go to enforce the Child Labor Law in New Jersey, through the Child Labor Law Enforcement Trust Fund.
The audit that resulted in this million-dollar sanction for Chipotle is not the only one that the fast food chain has received, in fact, between 2017 and 2020, the restaurant has been audited on several occasions for its history of child labor law violations.
Between 2016 and 2018, at least four Chipotle restaurants were cited in an audit for labor violations and, in 2020, agreed to pay $1.4 million to Massachusetts for wage and child labor violations.
For her part, Chipotle’s Director of Corporate Affairs, Laurie Schalow, assured that the company is “committed” to ensuring that its restaurants comply with all applicable labor standards and regulations.