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chipotle-store.png Nancy Luna
Chipotle is also loosening mask restrictions, but keeping social distancing guidelines in place.

4 things to know about Chipotle this week

Chipotle Mexican Grill continues to battle a lawsuit in New York City and just released a mental wellness app for employees

Chipotle Mexican Grill held its biennial shareholders’ meeting this week and protests related to the fast-casual chain's alleged labor violations continue in New York City. At the same time, the company announced new employee mental wellness benefits.

Here’s what you need to know about Chipotle this week.

Protests against Chipotle in New York City continue  

In April, New York City sued Chipotle Mexican Grill, claiming the company owes workers and the city nearly $500 million for violating the city’s Fair Workweek law. The city (and disgruntled employees) allege that Chipotle did not follow the law that requires quick-service restaurants to schedule employees at least two weeks in advance, and did not follow paid sick leave rules during the pandemic.   

Last week, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio joined the throng of protesters, encouraging New Yorkers to boycott Chipotle:

“We don’t want your burritos,” de Blasio said during the rally. “We don’t want your rice and beans. We just want you to give dignity to working people and stop this madness. If you break the law, we will get you.”

This week, activist group Serving Up Injustice protested the continued pay disparity between Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol and the average Chipotle worker, submitting videos of New York City Chipotle employees asking the company pointed questions during the shareholders’ meeting:

“My last raise was 25 cents,” New York City Chipotle employee Ed Dealecio said in a video, contrasting his pay raise to the proposed $60 million “Say on Pay” package proposed during the Chipotle shareholders’ meeting.

Nation’s Restaurant News contacted Chipotle for comment on the above video.

How Chipotle determines hourly wages

Earlier in May, Chipotle announced that the company would be adding a six-figure-salary career path for the highest level of general managers, in addition to raising its hourly wages to an average of $15 an hour, with pay ranging from $11-$18 an hour for store-level employees.

But what exactly does an average of $15 an hour mean and how does the company determine who gets higher or lower starting hourly wages?

“Hourly rate increases will be determined using a variety of elements, including geographical location and associated factors like the cost of living, as well as job level, tenure, and current hourly rate,” a Chipotle representative told Nation’s Restaurant News.

Chipotle releases mental wellness app

On the heels of employee protests and continued workforce changes, Chipotle has released a mental wellness platform for employees called Strive that provides “one-on-one coaching and support to help Chipotle employees set well-being goals that are tailored to their unique needs.”

The mental health platform gamifies employees’ “wellness experiences” with opportunities to win gift cards and health insurance discounts.

The wellness platform will be available for restaurant managers, field leaders, and restaurant support center employees.

Chipotle is not the only chain to offer mental health resources for its employees: in March 2020, Starbucks announced free therapy for employees as part of the company’s mental healthcare plan.

Chipotle loosens COVID-19 restrictions

In response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention loosening social distancing and mask requirements for vaccinated Americans, private companies are starting to re-evaluate their own policies. This week, Chipotle quietly issued a policy making facial coverings optional for vaccinated customers, except for where required by law, joining other large retail chains like Starbucks, Walmart, Trader Joe’s, Target, and CVS.

Contact Joanna at [email protected]

Find her on Twitter: @JoannaFantozzi

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