Chipotle to pay $400,000 following sexual harassment lawsuit

SAMMAMISH, Wash. — Chipotle has agreed to pay $400,000 to three former restaurant employees at its Sammamish location on Thursday.

According to the lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Chipotle allowed three of its crew members to be sexually harassed by a 24-year-old coworker and their 29-year-old service manager.

The manager is said to have harassed a 17-year-old employee and touched another worker’s buttocks. He also made inappropriate requests for sex and locked team members in the walk-in refrigerator, causing them to fear for their safety. The lawsuit states that Chipotle failed to adequately investigate the employees’ complaints and did not take steps to stop the harassment.

Chipotle settled the suit by agreeing to pay $400,000 to the three former employees, according to a three-year decree that settled the lawsuit.

“It is not enough for an employer to have a policy against sexual harassment,” said EEOC San Francisco District director Nancy Sienko. “The employer and its managers must follow through on that policy by thoroughly responding to reports of harassment by either forwarding the report to HR or investigating the harassment complaint and taking effective action to end a hostile work environment.”

Chipotle released the following statement addressing the lawsuit settlement.

“The settlement agreement makes clear that Chipotle is not admitting to any wrongdoing in the case; however, we chose to settle the matter to avoid the distraction of continued litigation,” said Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow. “It is our policy that all employees take anti-harassment training, and moving forward we will be providing additional training within a patch of restaurants and to our Respectful Workplace Hotline team.”

The company will appoint an internal consent decree coordinator to review, revise and implement anti-discriminatory policies and procedures that prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation. It will also provide sexual harassment training at seven of its Washington restaurants in Bellevue, Issaquah, Redmond, and Sammamish.