After being accused of multiple ongoing child labor violations, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. agreed to pay New Jersey $7.75 million in penalties and to take measures to come into compliance with the state’s child labor laws. New Jersey praised the settlement, stating that Chipotle and Chipotle Mexican Grill agreed to what they called a “far-reaching compliance plan” to correct the state’s concerns moving forward.
Labor Law Violations
Chipotle Mexican Grill was audited by the New Jersey Department of Labor, which alleged that the company violated the New Jersey Child Labor Law by failing to provide appropriate meal breaks for minors, working minors for too many hours, and not keeping employment certificates or records for employees under the age of 18 between September 2017 and December 2020.
Labor Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo spoke out about the settlement and the importance of child labor laws. “After-school and summer employment can be of tremendous value to both the young worker and the employer, but these jobs cannot come at the expense of treating employees fairly.” He discussed the importance of labor rights not only for children but for all workers and for businesses themselves. “There is no excuse for any business, particularly a major, profitable corporation with prior violations, to continually deny young employees their work rights.”
This isn’t the first time that Chipotle has found itself facing a similar accusation. In 2020, Chipotle paid $1.4 million to Massachusetts following claims that they committed around 13,000 violations of that state’s child labor laws between 2015 and 2019. They also settled another case this year with New York City employees and the city for $20 million after violating the Fair Workweek law between 2017 and 2022.
Child labor laws and workers’ rights don’t only protect employees, but allow for a better society and a stronger economy. Children who are able to attend school on a regular basis and have time for sufficient sleep have better grades, which opens more opportunities in the future. Research also shows that better worker rights lead to faster economic growth and business growth and help stabilize demand.
Even parts of labor laws that make life better for workers specifically also benefit the business they work for. When provided with fair treatment and pay, employees stay with their company longer, increasing output and creating more value as they gain experience.
The settlement reached between Chipotle and the state of New Jersey is groundbreaking for child labor laws and workers’ rights within New Jersey and across the rest of the United States. If you or your family has been impacted by violations of labor laws, employment discrimination, or business law, reach out to the experienced attorneys at McOmber McOmber & Luber today to get help.