Monday, March 21, 2011

Mass firings of Hispanic workers at Chipotle?

Trouble in the burrito line? Recently a couple of articles came out about mass firings of about 40 Hispanic workers at area Chipotles, including the one in Columbia Heights. A Chipotle spokesperson said they were fired because they weren't legally allowed to work in the country.

Some of the  fired workers claimed they were intimidated and weren't paid what they were owed. Councilmen Jim Graham and Kwame Brown were not happy about the workers' situation and wrote to the company about it threatening investigations. Here's a Chipotle spokesperson's response when I got in touch with them:
The incident to which you are referring stems from an internal review of immigration status of employees at a couple of our Washington, DC restaurants. Last week, we lost about 40 employees at two restaurants having learned that they were not legally authorized to work in this country. While this is certainly a frustrating situation for everyone involved, under the law, we cannot employ anyone who is not legally authorized to work in this country. In this case, many of the employees chose to leave their jobs, others had to be let go. In every case, we have paid the employees everything they are owed, but we can't continue to employ them.
I asked how they were employed in the first place but haven't yet heard back. We'll see what comes of this.

UPDATE from Chipotle in regards to how they were hired in the first place:
Like all companies, we confirm the identity and work authorization of each person we hire, but we must do so without engaging in any discriminatory conduct. We take this responsibility very seriously and have invested extensive time and money in training our managers and human resources teams to review employment eligibility and documentation carefully. But forged documents can be very difficult to recognize. Ultimately, we cannot employ any individual who is not legally authorized to work in this country.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

OMG -- has anyone been in this store lately to see the replacements -- this place has went from slow to snail speed .... its sooooooo painful going in this store now .... screw the laws, lets get back workers who want to and know how to work!!!

Anonymous said...

OMG -- has anyone been in this store lately to see the replacements -- this place has went from slow to snail speed .... its sooooooo painful going in this store now .... screw the laws, lets get back workers who want to and know how to work!!!

Anonymous said...

"I asked how they were employed in the first place but haven't yet heard back."

That indeed is the question. It's standard practice to verify status at the point of hiring, so who screwed up at that point? I see some reprisals in the HR area coming next.

Workers Rights Advocate said...

Please send workers who haven't been fully paid to the Employment Justice Center (www.dcejc.org) free legal clinic. All workers, regardless of immigration status, are legally entitled to pay for hours worked.

Anonymous said...

good

Anonymous said...

I think you mean councilman Jim Brown. Kwame Brown is a not-so-talented center for the Charlotte Bobcats.

Danny