With 84 stores and over 2000 workers, Chipotle has a strong presence in New York City. Though large, the fast-casual food giant is not an exception to city rules. Recently, Mayor de Blasio and the city Consumer and Worker Protection Department announced a lawsuit against the chain accusing them of Fair Workweek violations.

What are Fair Workweek Violations?

The Fair Workweek law, which has been in effect for two years, mandates that employers provide workers’ schedules at least two weeks in advance. The law also requires that existing employees are given priority for open shifts over new employees. New York City’s Fair Workweek suit was filed against four Brooklyn Chipotle locations, and additional complaints at 18 Manhattan locations are being investigated.

Cruz Pacheco and Jeremy Espinal are two Chipotle employees publicly sharing their stories in pursuit of better working conditions for other Chipotle workers. Espinal was recently required to change restaurant locations after the Union Station Chipotle cut his summer hours from 25 to 11 without notice. Pacheco, who was terminated suddenly, no longer works with Chipotle.

While Pacheco was told her sudden termination was due to an alleged theft of chips and guacamole, she believes it was actually due to her raising the issue of short-notice scheduling changes, which negatively affected her ability to take care of her daughter.

Make Sure Your Business is Compliant

As this case shows, no restaurant is above the law, and New York City won’t fail to file suit if it believes the business is out of compliance. However, restaurants without Chipotle’s income and resources may not be able to recover from a lawsuit as easily as a major chain. For New York City restaurants looking to maintain compliance, here are a few important guidelines to remember:

  • Employees should receive notice of their work schedule at least two weeks in advance
  • Employees should be paid for any amount of time they are required to be on the premises
  • Restaurant workers whose workdays are longer than 10 hours must receive an extra hour of pay at the minimum hourly wage
  • Tips should only be split amongst the front of house staff who deal with customers

If any regulations or practices seem hazy, make sure to research the issue. Staying up to date with the city’s labor laws and regulations, as well as keeping your Employee Handbook up-to-date, will ensure your restaurant maintains compliance.