Chipotle employees claim they worked 'maybe even thousands' of unpaid hours
Disgruntled workers are starting to detail the ways Chipotle allegedly screwed them out of wages, and so far the stories definitely make the problem sound bigger than "a few rogue managers" not following policy (as the chain has suggested). CNNMoney — which broke the initial story about the 10,000-employee-strong lawsuit — says that "dozens of workers from all over the United States have reached out ... to share their stores of 'the real Chipotle.'"
According to three it quotes, the "real" Chipotle is a place where employees worked "hundreds — maybe even thousands — of hours" without getting paid. "From day one, I was working off the clock at Chipotle," says Leah Turner, the Colorado plaintiff whose name is on the case. "I was threatened that if I didn't keep my [labor] numbers down, I wasn't going to have that position," she adds, explaining she rose up to store manager partly by keeping quiet about the ongoing wage theft.
Another employee, from California, describes unpaid "cleaning parties" where staff would come in on off days to help get the restaurant sparkling, a task that sometimes stretched till 4 a.m. This worker tells CNNMoney, "There were days I would work 15 hours, and I would only clock in for an eight-hour shift." Complaints were met with comments like "It's part of the job" and "You can't sue," she claims. A third worker who spent two years at an Arizona store says his workday inevitably ended with him spending 30 minutes to an hour doing things off the clock — three hours on really busy days, he alleges.
Chipotle continues to argue these claims have "no merit" and promises to fight the class-action in court. Spokesperson Chris Arnold stressed to CNNMoney that the chain pays workers higher wages plus does a number of other things "that are uncommon in our industry," including offering employees paid vacation and sick time as well as tuition reimbursement.