- Chipotle will pay $1.37 million in restitution and penalties to settle claims by Massachusetts' Office of the Attorney General that the company violated Massachusetts child labor laws, according to a Jan. 27 statement.
- Per the Attorney General's office, the list of violations includes an estimated 13,253 child labor violations in addition to other state wage and hour violations across more than 50 corporate-owned Chipotle locations. The office's investigation of Chipotle, which began in 2016, found that Chipotle regularly employed minors without work permits and permitted minors to work beyond the state's nine-hour daily limit and 48-hour weekly limit for children under age 18.
- In an email statement to HR Dive, a Chipotle spokesperson confirmed the company will donate $500,000 as part of the settlement to fund education and enforcement oversight of child labor laws as well as training and skills development for young workers. "We are committed to ensuring that our restaurants are in full compliance with all laws and regulations and we believe that in hiring workers beginning at age 16, we can provide younger employees with valuable experiences and provide a compelling work environment," the spokesperson said.
Chipotle is the second Mexican-style fast casual chain in just over five months to face child labor law violations in Massachusetts. In August, the state attorney general's office announced that it fined competitor Qdoba $409,400 for child labor citations at 22 locations.
In the Qdoba announcement, the Massachusetts attorney general's office said an investigation of Qdoba's records found the company allowed minors to work more than 11 hours in a single shift and more than 48 hours per week. Per the Chipotle announcement, the attorney general's office issued 41 citations for child labor law violations in 2019, totaling more than $480,000 in penalties.
The news in Massachusetts also comes just over four months since Chipotle faced a lawsuit in New York City over alleged violations of the city's Fair Workweek Law. The complaints involve more than 20 locations in the city, with workers alleging that Chipotle did not provide workers their schedules at least 14 days in advance, which the law requires.
In addition to state regulations, employers also must note federal child labor law regulations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), youths 14 and 15 years of age may work outside school hours in non-hazardous restaurant or fast-food establishment jobs provided they work no more than 3 hours on a school day, 18 hours in a school week, 8 hours on a non-school day or 40 hours in a non-school week. Those 16 and 17 years of age may perform any non-hazardous job for unlimited hours, per DOL.