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Business News

Chipotle agrees to $300K settlement over child labor allegations in DC

todayAugust 29, 2023

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(NEW YORK) — Chipotle Mexican Grill has agreed to a six-figure settlement after an investigation in the nation’s capital “identified over 800 potential violations of Washington, D.C.’s child labor laws over the past three years,” D.C. Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced on Monday.

Schwalb’s office alleges that since April 2020, the popular restaurant chain violated several child labor laws, with employees under the age of 18 working more than eight hours in a day, more than 48 hours in a week and more than six consecutive days in a work week.

The settlement also accuses Chipotle of violating the city’s laws by allowing children to work after 10 p.m. local time.

Chipotle operates 20 stores in the district. The investigation by Schwalb’s office was launched in May 2022.

Chipotle will pay D.C. $322,400 and has agreed to a new training and workplace compliance plan, according to prosecutors.

However, according to the settlement, the company “denies the District’s allegations regarding violations of any child labor laws. Nothing contained in this Settlement Agreement is or may be construed to be an admission by the Company of any violation of law or regulation, any other matter of fact or law, or any liability or wrongdoing.”

Spokespeople for the company did not immediately respond to ABC News’ request for comment.

Chipotle has previously been accused of similar infractions. In 2020, the company paid the state of Massachusetts $1.4 million for 13,253 alleged violations of child labor laws.

In September, the company also settled with the state of New Jersey for $7.75 million for what New Jersey Attorney General Matthew Platkin described at the time as “alleged widespread and persistent violations of the state’s child labor laws.”

The allegations in New Jersey included “Chipotle’s failure to abide by limits on the number of hours minors are allowed to work and its failure to provide them timely and sufficient meal breaks,” Platkin said in a statement last year.

Chipotle didn’t admit to any wrongdoing in settling the Massachusetts case and a Chipotle official said in a statement to reporters at the time of the New Jersey settlement “We have reached a settlement with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General for the events dating back to 2017, and have implemented an enhanced labor program in our restaurants, creating a more efficient, consistent and compliant environment.”

Chipotle Mexican Grill Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow told ABC News in a statement “We are committed to ensuring that our restaurants are in full compliance with applicable laws and regulations and we believe that in hiring workers beginning at age 16, we can provide younger employees with valuable experiences and an opportunity for advancement. We have reached a settlement with the Washington, D.C. Office of the Attorney General for the events dating back to 2020, and have implemented an enhanced labor scheduling program in our restaurants, creating a more efficient, consistent and compliant environment.”

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Written by: ABC News

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