Chipotle Fined $1.37 Million for Massachusetts Child Labor Violations

January 28, 2020 Updated: January 28, 2020
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Chipotle was fined $1.37 million for thousands of child labor violations, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced Jan. 27.

The company agreed to pay restitution and penalties for 13,253 state wage and hour law violations at more than 50 corporate-owned locations in the state. As part of the settlement, Chipotle agreed to pay $500,000 toward a fund that will be administered by Healey’s office to educate youth about child labor and law enforcement.

“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,” Healey said in a 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.”

The investigation started in 2016 after Healey’s office received a complaint from a parent of a minor employee. The parent said their child worked past midnight at a Chipotle in Beverly. A review of Chipotle’s records showed minors regularly worked hours that violated child labor laws; some minors were working without valid permits.

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A sign marks the location of a Chipotle restaurant in a file photograph. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

“The investigation found that Chipotle had regularly employed minors without work permits, permitted dozens of 16- and 17-year old employees to work later than the law allows, and allowed minors to work beyond the 9-hour daily limit and 48-hour weekly limit,” the attorney general’s office stated.

“The investigation also revealed that Chipotle did not properly notify employees of their rights under the earned sick time law, failed to provide the AG’s Office with complete timekeeping records upon request, and in some locations, failed to pay workers within six days of the end of a pay period.”

In a statement to news outlets, Laurie Schalow, Chipotle’s chief corporate reputation officer, said, “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 settlement included Chipotle accepting the civil citations and cooperating with the attorney general’s investigation.

Massachusetts law dictates that children under 18 can’t work more than nine hours in a day or more than 48 hours per week. Youths aged 14 or 15 can’t work later than 7 p.m., while 16- and 17-year-old children can’t work later than 10 p.m. on a night preceding a school day or later than midnight on a night before a non-school day.

State law also requires employers to have work permits on file for all workers under 18 years of age.

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