An overtime lawsuit by hourly night-shift employees of a Chipotle restaurant in Minnesota who allegedly worked without pay while closing the restaurant can proceed as a collective action, the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota ruled.
Chipotle operates more than 2,100 restaurants in 46 states and the District of Columbia, as well as internationally. In 2014, four hourly employees of a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. in Crystal, Minn., filed a lawsuit in the District of Minnesota against Chipotle on behalf of themselves and all others similarly situated under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA).
They claimed that Chipotle has a companywide unwritten policy of requiring hourly paid employees to work off the clock and without pay, and they sought to recover allegedly unpaid overtime compensation and other wages.
Each Chipotle is also managed by a general manager, one or more “apprentice managers” who serve as assistant managers, one or more service managers, and one or more kitchen managers, and has 15 to 50 crew members.
A Crystal Chipotle apprentice manager from April 2012 to October 2013, filed a declaration in a related lawsuit against Chipotle in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado that his superiors knew that the general managers and apprentice managers in the 50-store area required hourly employees to work off the clock to meet Chipotle’s requirement that they keep labor costs down. He stated that he was directed to clock out hourly night-shift crew members before 12:30 a.m. and require them to keep working after they clocked out.
Chipotle argued to have the case decertified, but ultimately, the court denied Chipotle’s motion to decertify the collective action.
You can read more about the case here.
It is illegal to force hourly employees to work off the clock. When a group of employees are seeking damages for unpaid overtime or minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act, they can file together in what is called a collective action lawsuit. Collective action lawsuits have many advantages over filing alone. These lawsuits work to increase the efficiency of the legal process and lower legal costs for all parties by grouping the plaintiffs together.
Collective action lawsuits provide the opportunity to expand the lawsuit to include additional individuals who are similarly situated. Therefore, a lawsuit brought by a handful of individuals could expand to include hundreds of individuals who perform the same job for the same employer.
If you think your employer may be violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by not paying you and other fellow employees for the work performed, call our our Florida Collective & Class Action Litigation Lawyers at Whittel & Melton today at 866-608-5529 for a free consultation.
We encourage you to contact us even if you just want to discuss a potential case. Your consultation is always free, and if we take on your case you pay us nothing until we recover compensation on your behalf.