Chipotle reaches $3 million settlement with city on alleged labor-law violations. Here’s how West Seattle factors into it

The city Office of Labor Standards announced today that it has settled with Chipotle over alleged labor-law violations at eight area restaurants. We confirmed with the city that the West Seattle location (opened nine years ago at 4730 California SW) is one of them. First, from the city announcement, here are the basics:

The Office of Labor Standards (OLS) investigated Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. for alleged violations of the Secure Scheduling and Paid Sick and Safe Time (PSST) Ordinances throughout Chipotle’s eight operations in Seattle.

Chipotle settled the allegations and agreed to pay a total financial remedy of $2,895,716.73 to 1,853 employees and $7,308.63 to the City of Seattle. Chipotle also agreed to develop and implement a written Secure Scheduling Ordinance (SSO) policy.

This is the largest SSO settlement since the ordinance’s creation and the fourth largest overall in the history of the office. …

Under the Secure Scheduling Ordinance, OLS alleged the employer:

-Failed to consistently provide premium pay for schedule changes when required;
-Retaliated against an employee for declining to work or consent to a shift change made with less than 14 days’ notice;
-Retaliated against an employee for requesting not to be scheduled at certain times in conflict with a second job; and
-Failed to maintain records of original work schedules, as required by the Secure Scheduling Ordinance.

Under the Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, OLS also alleged the employer:

-Failed to provide PSST accrual at the correct rate;
-Lacked a compliant written PSST policy; and
-Retaliated against an employee for calling out sick.

We asked the OLS how the West Seattle Chipotle factored into this. The response: “There were 99 employees who worked at that location during the relevant violation period, of whom 79 were aggrieved parties under the Agreement. 12 received civil penalties for Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance violations and 78 for Secure Scheduling Ordinance violations.” The OLS also provided the settlement document; it lists the workers but does not match them to which restaurant they worked at. Reviewing that list, we note the largest sum awarded to any one employee appears to be $23,083, which includes back wages, interest, damages, and civil penalties.

9 Replies to "Chipotle reaches $3 million settlement with city on alleged labor-law violations. Here's how West Seattle factors into it"

  • 22blades April 12, 2024 (6:42 am)

    Not Chipotle’s first brush with labor law. Massachusetts charged the company with 13,000 child labor law violations for a $1.3 million dollar fine. Other problems include food safety, false advertising. Buy & support local.

  • Thomas April 12, 2024 (8:26 am)

    Unfortunately another reminder that running a business too often means figuring out what you can get away with, for how long, and whether the penalty is worth it. I’m sure Chipotle didn’t get three million dollars with of extra sales out of people forced to work when they shouldn’t have. I hope things are better for the people working there now. 

  • Mellow Kitty April 12, 2024 (9:47 am)

    Yet another reason to never go to Chipotle. 

    • 937 April 12, 2024 (10:31 am)

      The “food” is reason 1A.

      The exorbitant pricing is reason 1Aa

      People throwing away their hard earned money astounds me.

  • Peter S. April 12, 2024 (10:50 am)

    Beyond basic decency, it’s always escaped me why treating your employees poorly is viewed as a desirable business model.  Seems especially rampant in the food and some of the other service industries with unpredictable work schedules, etc.  It’s hard enough to hire and retain hardworking and dependable workers.  Why on earth would you want to make things more difficult for them?? 

  • Alki resident April 12, 2024 (11:30 am)

    Wish I’d known this four days ago when we ended up at Southcenter Chipotle. 

  • Jay April 12, 2024 (1:23 pm)

    I’m glad that a punitive penalty was imposed by the city. The MA child
    labor case ended up in a judgement of only $100 per violation, which is
    in the cost of doing business range. This $3 million judgement is going
    to force some serious policy conversations at Chipotle HQ.

  • Kersti Muul April 12, 2024 (4:02 pm)

    Check out the South Park episode ‘Chipotle Away’ 🤣

  • Admiral-2009 April 13, 2024 (5:43 pm)

    Peter S – agreed, treating employees as an asset not a commodity is a far superior business model in the long term.

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