Settles Federal Agency Charges Manager Subjected Employee to Hostile Environment
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Chipotle Services, LLC will pay $50,000 to a former crew member at its Prattville, Alabama restaurant location and will provide other relief to resolve a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.

According to the EEOC’s lawsuit, beginning in October 2019, a male restaurant manager at the Prattville Chipotle Mexican Grill sexually harassed the employee daily through unwanted sexual advances, sexual comments and sexually offensive conduct, including sexual contact. Chipotle failed to investigate complaints against the manager or take steps that would have stopped the sexual harassment, the EEOC said.

Such alleged conduct violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits a sexually hostile environment in the workplace. The EEOC filed its lawsuit (EEOC v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., and Chipotle Services, LLC, Case No. 2:22-cv-00326-MHT-SMD) in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation process.

Under the two-year consent decree settling the case, Chipotle will also review, revise as necessary, and implement its anti-discrimination policies that prohibit sexual harassment. Employees at Chipotle’s Alabama restaurants in Prattville and Montgomery will receive in-person training on sexual harassment, and the managers and human resources personnel with authority over those restaurants will receive additional sexual harassment training.

“In short, sexual harassment is illegal,” said EEOC Birmingham district director Bradley Anderson. “As we see in this instance, failure to enforce anti-harassment policies can embolden sexual harassers, especially ones who are in a position of authority, and multiply the number of victims. The consent decree in this case provides the opportunity for Chipotle to develop a culture in its restaurants where employees can work free of sexual harassment.”

Marsha Rucker, regional attorney for the EEOC’s Birmingham District, added, “Even when a victimized employee is not fired or disciplined, employers can be complicit with sexually harassing managers when the proper procedures for prevention and correction are not in place or are easily thwarted by the chain of command. The EEOC will hold employers accountable under federal law when they fail to protect their workers from a sexually hostile work environment.”

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The EEOC’s Birmingham District Office has jurisdiction over Alabama, Mississippi (except 17 northern counties) and the Florida Panhandle.

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