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Chipotle Settles EEOC Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $400,000

Last week Chipotle agreed to settle a lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of three former employees who alleged that they were sexually harassed by their manager and another co-worker.

The harassment includes allegations that the manager sexually assaulted an underage employee and touched another worker’s buttocks. The manager also made unwelcome sexual comments and requests for sex and temporarily blocked workers from exiting the restaurant’s walk-in refrigerator, causing them to fear for their safety. In addition, the allegations indicate that despite the employees’ reports to the restaurant’s general managers of being sexually harassed, Chipotle failed to adequately investigate their complaints and did not take adequate measures to stop the sexual harassment.

According to an EEOC director, “It is not enough for an employer to have a policy against sexual harassment. The employer and its managers must follow through on that policy by thoroughly responding to reports of harassment by either forwarding the report to HR or investigating the harassment complaint and taking effective action to end a hostile work environment.”

In addition to paying the former employees $400,000, Chipotle will revise and implement anti-discriminatory policies and procedures that prohibit sexual harassment and retaliation; provide additional sexual harassment training to its employees, supervisors and managers at seven of its Washington state locations; and train its HR investigators on how to conduct sexual discrimination and harassment investigations.