Press Release 09-10-2020

EEOC Sues Chipotle Mexican Grill for Sexual Harassment and Retaliation

Restaurant Allowed Coworker to Repeatedly Harass Manager and Fired Her for Complaining, Federal Agency Charges

TAMPA, Fla. – Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., an international restaurant chain, violated federal law when a Tampa location service manager was sexually harassed by a coworker and fired in retaliation for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit filed today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, a Chipotle crew person repeatedly made sexually offensive remarks and inappropriately touched the service manager. The conduct escalated into two sexual assaults on the same day. Having already repeatedly reported the harassment to the store’s management prior to the assaults, the service manager told the store management that she planned to report the sexual assaults to corporate headquarters. Within three days, she was terminated.

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.

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) after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process. The lawsuit asks the court to order Chipotle to provide the service manager back pay, front pay, and compensatory and punitive damages. The EEOC also asks the court to order Chipotle to institute policies and practices that prevent and eliminate sexual harassment in its workplace.

“Employers have a duty to protect their workforce from sexual harassment when they learn that it is occurring,” said Bradley A. Anderson, acting district director of the EEOC’s Miami District Office. “Ignoring complaints of sexual harassment and failing to take action to remedy the problematic behavior violates federal law.”

Robert E. Weisberg, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Miami District Office, added, “Employers must not retaliate against employees who report discrimination. The EEOC is com­mitted to enforcing the law’s prohibitions against retaliation as a necessary step to achieving workplaces free of discrimination.”

The EEOC’s Miami District Office is comprised of the Miami, Tampa, and San Juan offices and has jurisdiction over most of Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The EEOC’s Miami District employs multiple bilingual investigators who speak English, Spanish, Haitian Creole, French and Portuguese.

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