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Press Release 05-31-2022

EEOC Sues Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. for Sexual Harassment

Fast Food Chain Allowed Male Manager to Sexually Harass Female Employee at Alabama Location, Federal Agency Charged

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., a fast food chain headquartered in Newport Beach, California with restaurants throughout the United States, violated federal law by subjecting a female employee to sexual harassment, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, beginning at least as early as October 2019, a male restaurant manager at the Prattville, Alabama Chipotle sexually harassed the employee daily through unwanted sexual advances, sexual comments and sexually offensive conduct, including sexual contact. Despite receiving complaints, Chipotle failed to investigate the complaints or take any steps to stop the sexual harassment.

Such alleged conduct violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a hostile environment based on sexual harassment in the workplace. The EEOC filed suit (EEOC v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., Case No. 2:22-cv-00326) in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its voluntary conciliation process. The EEOC seeks monetary damages for the claimant, including compensatory and punitive damages, and injunctive relief against the company to prevent such unlawful conduct in the future.

“The EEOC continues to see employers failing to properly investigate and correct harassment in the workplace,” said EEOC Birmingham district director Bradley Anderson. “In the past five years alone, this is at least the fourth sexual harassment lawsuit EEOC has filed against a Chipotle facility. It is high time that Chipotle begin taking proactive measures to address this ongoing and pervasive sexual harassment at its facilities. All employees deserve a workplace that is free of sex-based harassment and discrimination. Sexual harassment by managers is especially alarming because of their authority over subordinates.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, added, “All too often, workers in the restaurant industry feel they have to endure sexual harassment due to decentralized management and the perception that on-site managers have absolute say over the work environment. However, employees and managers would be well advised to know that federal law requires employers to protect their workers from a sexually hostile work environment and that the EEOC will hold them when they fail to do so.”

The EEOC’s Birmingham District consists of Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties), and the Florida Panhandle.

The EEOC advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. More information is available at Stay connected with the latest EEOC news by subscribing to our email updates.