A Minneapolis man is suing Chipotle Mexican Grill, alleging that he and other employees at the Golden Valley location were ordered to keep working "off the clock" after punching out and were not paid for the unrecorded time.
Even if employees didn't punch out, Deshandre Woodards' federal suit continued, Chipotle had its time clocks set to take care of that automatically.
The suit said the tactics have been going on for years at the "fast-casual" chain of more than 1,600 outlets, which has built a dedicated customer base in part because it touts its ethics and health benefits in the selection of natural ingredients for its Mexican-style menu.
Woodards' court file shows no response to the allegations having been filed yet on behalf of Chipotle, and company spokesman Chris Arnold said its executives do not comment about pending litigation. The company did file a 14-page response in an earlier Minnesota case denying the crux of those claims.
The suit filed in St. Paul last week against Denver-based Chipotle seeks back pay on behalf of Woodards along with unspecified damages and payment of legal expenses.
The 29-year-old plaintiff, who left Chipotle in August 2012 after less than a year, also asks the court to gives his suit class-action status, meaning tens of thousands of other current and former hourly workers could receive any potential payout.
This is the second federal suit making these allegations against Chipotle in Minnesota, which has about 50 locations in the state. The first suit, on behalf of four plaintiffs, was filed last year and remains active. There also are a few other plaintiffs whose suits elsewhere in the United States make similar contentions.
In his suit, Woodards says that Chipotle encourages its managers "to require that work be performed off the clock" after 12:30 a.m. and has a system of "reward and punishment" for supervisors who either stay within or exceed their payroll budgets.
The suit alleges that Chipotle routinely conducts training, meetings and other activities that employees are "required to attend, but for which they are not allowed to punch in." It also says the company does not maintain sufficient records of its employees' wages and hours.
Woodards alleges that he was told on his first day reporting for work in October 2011 that he would not be paid while being trained. After his first day, he was required to punch out at the end of his shift but continued to clean up and attend night meetings. Unpaid time would range from 10 to 15 hours a week.
He also said that his complaints about not being paid were met with being scheduled fewer hours and being labeled as not being a "team player" and having a "bad attitude."