Chipotle Mexican Grill Fined for 13,253 Child Labor Law Violations in One State
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. agreed to pay a $1.3 million fine for more than 13,000 child labor violations at several of its Massachusetts locations.
The state’s attorney general’s office criticized the company in a statement for “routinely” violating child labor laws between 2015 and 2019 at more than 50 Chipotle locations.
Teenagers under 18 years old were forced to work without proper work permits, late into the night and for too many hours per day and week, according to the state.
“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,” Attorney General Maura Healey said in the statement. “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.”
Chipotle has 62 restaurants in Massachusetts.
The three-year investigation followed a 2016 complaint from a parent telling the office that their kid worked “well past midnight” at one Chipotle location. The office’s findings revealed that the company permitted dozens of 16- and 17-year-old employees to work later than the law allows. Chipotle also allowed children to work more than the state’s nine-hour daily limit and the 48-hour weekly limit.
Chipotle is also accused of violating other Massachusetts labor laws, including failing to provide proper timesheets and failing to pay workers within six days of the end of a pay period, the attorney general’s office said.
The Mexican restaurant chain settled with the state, cooperated with the investigation and is now compliant with state labor laws, according to the attorney general’s office.
In addition to the fine, Chipotle will pay $500,000 for youth programs that will include training and educating young workers about child labor laws.
AG Healey’s Fair Labor Division is responsible for enforcing state laws regulating the payment of wages, including prevailing wage, minimum wage, overtime, and earned sick time laws. Under Massachusetts law, children under 18 may not work more than 9 hours in a day or more than 48 hours in a week. Fourteen- and 15-year-old children may not work later than 7 p.m. and 16- and 17-year-old children may not work later than 10 p.m. on a night preceding a school day, or later than midnight preceding a non-school day. State law also requires employers to have work permits on file for all workers under 18 years of age.
In fiscal year 2019, the AG’s Office issued 41 citations for child labor law violations totaling more than $487,000 in penalties.
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated in their workplace are encouraged to file a complaint at www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor. For information about the state’s wage and hour laws, workers may call the AG’s Fair Labor Hotline at (617) 727-3465 or go to the AG’s Workplace Rights website www.mass.gov/ago/fairlabor for materials in multiple languages.
This matter is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Drew Cahill and Senior Investigator Huong Phan of the AG’s Fair Labor Division.