Washington, DC – Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb today announced that Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. (Chipotle) will pay the District $322,400 and adopt a new, comprehensive training and workplace compliance plan to resolve allegations of District child labor law violations, including hundreds of instances in which Chipotle failed to abide by legal caps on the number of hours minors are allowed to work. Chipotle operates 20 fast-casual restaurants in the District.
“We applaud young people who take the initiative to work in addition to going to school. But the law limits the hours they can work to ensure they are healthy, well-rested, and able to fulfill their responsibilities as students and to their families. Our investigation examined whether Chipotle violated laws intended to protect our children, and today’s outcome continues the Office of the Attorney General’s proven track record of enforcing DC’s labor protections to the fullest extent of the law. We will put this settlement to good use by helping connect District youth with apprenticeships and workforce training opportunities, building on our efforts to ensure that all young people in the District have the chance to thrive and succeed.”
The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) began investigating Chipotle’s labor practices in May 2022 after reviewing reports from other jurisdictions where Chipotle was alleged to have violated other states’ child labor laws. The District’s child labor laws establish numerous protections on minor employees’ work hours, which include prohibiting employers from requiring minors to work past 10:00pm, work more than 8 hours in a day, work more than 6 consecutive days in a workweek, or work more than 48 hours in a workweek. OAG’s investigation identified over 800 potential violations of DC’s child labor laws over the past three years at Chipotle’s restaurants in the District. Chipotle cooperated with OAG’s investigation and worked with the office to develop a plan to comply with DC’s child labor laws.
As a result of OAG’s investigation and action, Chipotle must:
- Pay $322,400 to the District as a penalty for violating the District’s child labor laws (DC Code § 32-202).
- Implement new formal policies and procedures to ensure future compliance with District labor laws. This includes, at a minimum, prohibiting minors from working after 10:00 p.m., working more than 8 hours in one day or more than 48 hours in one week, and working more than 6 consecutive days in a week.
- Provide formal training on the District’s child labor laws to all restaurant managers and supervisors within the District. Chipotle will provide all Apprentices and General Managers with sufficient and documented training within 6 months of their hire or promotion.
- Ensure that store managers personally review the District’s child labor laws with all newly hired minor employees at onboarding. Managers will provide all employed minors with a copy of its District-specific child labor policy and ensure they understand both the District’s child labor laws and Chipotle’s policy.
The full agreement is available here.
Building on OAG’s efforts to support District youth and ensure all kids have an opportunity to thrive, a portion of the financial penalty will be dedicated to a youth apprenticeship grant to help connect District kids with existing apprenticeship programs and provide them with on-the-job training and workforce skills development. More details on this program are forthcoming.
The matter was handled by Assistant Attorney General Charlie Sinks, Assistant Section Chief Randy Chen, and Section Chief Graham Lake.
OAG’s Efforts to Protect Workers
In 2021, OAG established the Workers’ Rights & Antifraud Section, which is dedicated to fighting wage theft and protecting District workers. Since gaining wage theft enforcement authority in 2017, OAG has secured over $18 million for workers and the District by bringing investigations and lawsuits against employers who violate District law. OAG’s wage theft enforcement efforts have focused on industries with high populations of vulnerable workers, such as construction, restaurants and hospitality, healthcare, and the gig economy. OAG also released a report about how worker misclassification hurts workers, undercuts law-abiding businesses, and cheats taxpayers. This past September, OAG released a Labor Day report highlighting efforts to protect DC workers.
Click here to view a more comprehensive list of OAG’s legal victories standing up for workers’ rights.
How to Report Wage and Hour Violations
Workers who believe that their rights have been violated, or that they have experienced wage theft or other wage and hour violations, can contact OAG by calling (202) 442-9828 or emailing email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.