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Chipotle Pays D.C. Over $322K to Resolve Alleged Child Labor Violations

The fast-food giant allegedly let under-18 employees work more hours than legally allowed

Chipotle was ordered to pay up following a labor investigation by the Office of the Attorney General (OAG).
SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images
Tierney Plumb is the editor of Eater DC, covering all things food and drink around the nation's capital.

Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has agreed to pay D.C. $322,400 and implement a comprehensive training and workplace compliance plan to settle allegations of labor law violations, Attorney General Brian L. Schwalb announced this week.

Per an investigation from the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), the burrito slinger allegedly broke child labor laws at least 800 times in the past three years. D.C. prohibits employers from letting minors work past 10 p.m.; more than eight hours in a day; and over six consecutive days (or more than 48 hours) in a single work week. Chipotle operates 20 fast-casual locations around the city, but the settlement did not name which ones are accused of violating child labor policies since April 2020. Chipotle hires employees as young as 16, and the average age of its workforce is 24.

“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,” says Schwalb, in a statement.

D.C. plans to use a portion of the penalty to create a youth apprenticeship grant and workforce training opportunities. As part of the settlement agreement, Chipotle must also offer general managers and supervisors formal training on child labor laws, and store managers must personally review labor policies with newly hired minors in the future. Read the full agreement here.

In 2022, Chipotle reached a $20 million settlement with NYC for allegations of violating fair scheduling and sick leave laws for 13,000 employees.

Chipotle is on track to create 7,000 jobs nationwide this year amid 250 new restaurant openings. Chipotle turned to social media for its new “Behind the Foil” hiring campaign, per a release on Tuesday, August 29, featuring short video testimonials from its team members.

The publicly traded company based in Newport Beach, Calif. owns and operates over 3,250 restaurants across North America and Europe.