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Chipotle accused of wage theft in class action suits

Chipotle became the latest fast-food chain to be accused of forcing employees to work off the clock and without pay. Over the past two months, a class action lawsuit has been filed in Colorado and Minnesota on behalf of Chipotle workers.

Chipotle employees accused the company of making workers stay late but without pay in effort to meet budget goals. For example, employees said they were automatically punched out 12:30 a.m. by the company’s time keeping system even on days when they were working later. 

Workers also said that they were required to attend meetings outside of their regular shifts that they were not paid for. A former manager at a Colorado Chipotle said that she was told she would lose her job if her employees did not clock out at the end of their scheduled shifts.

A spokesman for Chipotle has not commented on the lawsuits except to say that the company follows all labor laws. He added that the lawsuits are mere allegations at this point. The workers seek unpaid overtime and lost wages as well as other damages.

Lawsuits alleging wage-theft have been growing more common against large companies, but small businesses, too, can be hit with claims. Essentially, wage theft means that workers have not received the wages that they were promised.

One of the most common forms of wage theft is non-payment of overtime. This can be a complex issue because in many cases whether or not an employee is entitled to overtime pay depends on the workers classification under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

An experienced employment law attorney can discuss wage theft issues at length with small business owners to ensure that a business is in compliance with the FLSA.

Source: CNN Money, “Chipotle workers say they work extra hours for no pay,” Ben Rooney, Oct. 29, 2014

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