Chipotle workers fired up, claim they work extra hours for no pay

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NEW YORK (CNNMoney) — Chipotle workers are suing the burrito chain for making them work extra hours without pay.

It is the latest example of workers accusing a fast food chain of so-called wage theft.

The class action lawsuits filed in Colorado and Minnesota in the last two months allege that Chipotle routinely requires its hourly employees to work “off the clock” without pay.

The workers filed written statements describing how the restaurant’s time keeping system would automatically punch them out at 12:30 a.m., even though they had to stay later to finish cleaning up.

Demarkus Hobbs, who worked at a Chipotle in Minnesota for about a year, said in one lawsuit filed earlier this month that he was not paid for “several hours” of work each week.

“If I complained about not being paid for all of the hours that I worked, Chipotle would threaten me with termination or would punish me by cutting my hours,” Hobbs said in his statement.

Employees claim it was part of an unwritten policy to save money on payroll budgets and that store managers felt pressure to make workers stay late.

Leah Turner, who worked as a manager at a Chipotle in Colorado, said her superiors made it clear that she could be fired if her workers did not punch out at the end of their designated shift.

“It was my understanding that we had to work off the clock to meet budget goals, and because bonuses for general managers were based upon labor costs,” Turner said.

Others claim they were required to attend mandatory meetings before or after their shifts, which were also off the clock.

“These cases are about treating employees fairly and compensating them for all of their work,” said Karen O’Conner, an attorney with Bachus & Schanker, the Denver law firm representing some of the workers.

The workers are suing for unpaid overtime and lost wages, among other damages. The lawsuits were filed in September and October.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold declined to comment on the allegations. But he said the company abides by all applicable labor laws.

“The filing of a lawsuit is nothing more than allegations and is proof of nothing,” said Arnold.

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