Chipotle Fined $1.3 Million For Child Labor Violations

by Christina Marfice
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty

More than 50 Chipotle locations across Massachusetts are accused of violations

Just when it seemed like things were going better for Chipotle, the chain is involved in yet another major scandal. The Massachusetts Attorney General has ordered the chain to pay $1.3 million in fines over child labor law violations all over the state.

According to CBS, Attorney General Maura Healey found an estimated 13,253 violations in more than 50 Chipotle locations across Massachusetts. The $1.3 million fine she’s ordered is the largest child labor penalty ever issued by the state.

“Chipotle is a major national restaurant chain that employs thousands of young people across the country and it has a duty to ensure minors are safe working in its restaurants,” Healey said in a statement. “We hope these citations send a message to other fast food chains and restaurants that they cannot violate our child labor laws and put young people at risk.”

The details of the complaint reveal exactly what rules Chipotle is accused of breaking. Healey’s report shows that the chain had employees under 18 years old who routinely worked later than midnight, or were scheduled for more than 48 hours of work per week. Teenagers told officials during the investigation that they regularly had trouble keeping up with their school work because their work hours were so long. Investigators also found that the chain regularly hired teens who didn’t have work permits.

While the child labor violations are the most shocking ones that were found, investigators also discovered sick leave violations, in which Chipotle managers would only grant earned time off to employees who had certain illnesses. There were also record-keeping violations found, showing that the chain failed to keep accurate records of employee earnings and didn’t pay wages on time. In addition to the fines for child labor violations, Chipotle has been ordered to pay nearly $2 million total for all of its violations.

Additionally, the chain has been asked to pay $500,000 to a state youth worker fund that’s used to promote education, enforcement and training.

This is just the latest scandal to hit Chipotle, which for several years struggled to retain customers among several foodborne illness outbreaks that made hundreds of people sick. Plus there was that lawsuit over inaccurate calorie counts being displayed for its food items. While those burritos, which are both the size and heft of a newborn child, are definitely a guilty pleasure, this latest news may have people thinking twice about their craving for sofritas.