A former manager for Chipotle Mexican Grill has been awarded $8 million after having been fired for allegedly stealing $626 in cash. The woman had been employed by Chipotle for 14 years at a Fresno, California branch of the fast food chain. She was fired from her manager position in 2015 after her superiors claimed that they had viewed security footage of her stealing money from the safe.
The footage was subsequently erased, and the plaintiff’s attorneys alleged this was done after the woman denied the accusations against her. Chipotle’s upper management was also unable to provide any notes or text messages that indicated the reason for the firing.
In their lawsuit for wrongful termination, lawyers for the manager alleged that she was in fact maliciously fired because she went on medical leave for a work-related injury. The plaintiff suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome.
Workers’ Compensation and Occupational Illnesses
Occupational illnesses such as carpal tunnel syndrome and other related injuries are covered under Workers’ Compensation. Retaliatory actions against workers who file a claim for a work injury are prohibited by law.
Retaliation can take many forms such as demotion, termination, denial of benefits and training, and harassment.
Award for Emotional Distress
Lawyers for the plaintiff described how humiliating it was for their client to be called a thief and subsequently fired after working at Chipotle for 14 years. In closing arguments, they said the ordeal damaged her self-worth and left her unable to sleep at night due to anxiety.
The jury deliberated for four hours and concluded that the manager had been a victim of a plot to defame and then terminate her because of her Workers’ Compensation claim. They awarded her a total of $7.97 million in damages. Damages for emotional distress totaled $6 million while the damages for past and future lost wages equaled $1.97 million.
Before she was fired, the plaintiff had been earning an annual salary of $70,000 and had been negotiating a promotion that would have included a raise of $30,000.
Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C. Advocate for Victims of Wrongful Termination
If you have been wrongfully terminated, contact the Cherry Hill employment law lawyers at McOmber McOmber & Luber, P.C.. Our skilled legal team will review your case for free and help you determine the best path to achieve justice and compensation. Call our Red Bank office at 732-842-6500, our Marlton office at 856-985-9800, our Newark office at 973-878-9040, or contact us at 888-396-0736 or online for a free consultation. We represent clients throughout New Jersey.