The Massachusetts Attorney General accused Chipotle of allowing employees under the age of 18 to work over 48 hours a week

By Helen Murphy
January 29, 2020 11:38 AM
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Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle was hit with a $1.37 million fine for child labor violations in the state of Massachusetts.

In a statement on Monday, Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced that she had ordered the fine after an investigation found an estimated 13,253 child labor violations — and “other state wage and hour law violations” — in over 50 Chipotle locations across the state between 2015 and 2019.

“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 the 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.”

According to Healy’s statement, the investigation into Chipotle began in 2016 after a parent of a minor employee complained that their child had worked past midnight at a Massachusetts Chipotle location. The investigation “identified child labor violations such as minors working without valid work permits, too late into the evening, and too many hours per day and per week.”

According to the statement, Chipotle locations in Massachusetts “regularly” employed minors (under the age of 18) without work permits, and allowed them to work more than nine hours a day and 48 hours a week, which are the legal limits for minors in the state.

The statement reports that the investigation also found other violations including earned sick time violations and failing to provide the Attorney General’s office with timekeeping records when they were requested.

In a statement to PEOPLE, Chipotle’s chief corporate reputation officer, Laurie Schalow, said Chipotle is “committed to ensuring that our restaurants are in full compliance with all laws and regulations.”

“We believe that in hiring workers beginning at age 16, we can provide younger employees with valuable experiences and provide a compelling work environment,” the statement read. “As part of our settlement with the Massachusetts Office of the Attorney General from violations dating back to 2015, we have agreed to donate $500,000 for the education and enforcement oversight related to child labor laws, for training and skills development of young workers, and to assist Massachusetts youth.”