Chipotle to Pay $70,000 to Settle EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Case

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
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U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Restaurant Fired Employee After She Reported Sexual Harassment, Federal Agency Charged

TAMPA, Fla. – Chipotle Services LLC, doing business as Chipotle Mexican Grill, a Mexican-style fast food chain, has agreed to pay $70,000 in damages and furnish other relief in order to settle a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s suit, a male Chipotle crew person repeatedly made sexually offensive remarks about the body of a female Chipotle service manager at its International Plaza Mall restaurant in Tampa. The harassment escalated to inappropriate touching, in¬cluding the crew person thrusting his genitals toward the service manager’s face, the EEOC charged. Having already repeatedly reported the harassment to the store’s management, the service manager told the general manager that she planned to report the sexual assaults to corporate headquarters. Within three days, she was terminated, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on sex and retaliation against workers who object to such discrimination as well as retaliation for complaining about it. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida (EEOC v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 8:20-cv-02128-T-30AEP).

In addition to the $70,000 in damages, the two-year consent decree settling the suit requires Chipotle to institute policies and practices that prevent and eliminate sexual harassment in its workplace, such as amending its sexual harassment reporting policy and procedures; conducting training on Title VII; and posting a notice about this suit.

“The EEOC commends Chipotle for quickly reaching a resolution that both compensates the harmed employee and provides for policy changes designed to protect other employees from sexual harassment,” said Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District.

“The EEOC will always seek to eliminate workplace sexual harassment wherever it finds it,” added EEOC’s Tampa Field Office director, Evangeline Hawthorne. “We encourage all employers to be proactive and ensure that their workplaces are free from unlawful harassment.”

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at www.eeoc.gov.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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