Thousands of current and former employees of the restaurant chain Chipotle have reportedly returned paperwork indicating their intent to join a lawsuit against Chipotle for wage theft. The paperwork went out to current and former Chipotle employees in April and indicated that employees who worked “off the clock” for Chipotle could join the lawsuit. Since then, nearly 10,000 current and former employees have joined the lawsuit.
The lawsuit alleges that Chipotle employees who worked the closing shift were automatically and routinely clocked out before they finished working. Some managers even allegedly asked Chipotle employees to work after they were clocked out. This is a classic form of wage theft and, given the number of workers who have opted-in to the lawsuit so far, it may have been a pervasive practice at Chipotle.
Unfortunately, many employers engage in wage theft in order to keep labor costs low. Wage theft can take many forms such as requiring employees to work off the clock, refusing to pay time-and-a-half for all overtime worked, and improperly paying the same weekly salary to non-exempt employees even when they work overtime. These practices are called wage theft because they involve the employers keeping wages that employees earned and are legally entitled to receive.