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Chipotle must pay fired manager nearly $8 million

California worker was accused of stealing and fired during medical leave

Chipotle Mexican Grill must pay a former California employee nearly $8 million in damages for scheming to fire her after she filed a worker's compensation claim for a job-related injury, the Fresno Bee is reporting.

The order from a jury in Fresno Superior Court in central California came on Thursday. 

On Friday, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Nation’s Restaurant News that the chain will appeal the ruling.

“We are disappointed with the verdict in this case and plan to appeal this decision,” he said.

The Denver-based chain offered no further comment.

Warren Paboojian, attorney for the plaintiff, could not be reached for comment.

In court, he argued that his client, Jeanette Ortiz, had been wrongly terminated after the mother of nine went on medical leave for injuries related to carpal tunnel syndrome, the Bee reported. Ortiz was a general manager making about $70,000 a year. She was fired while on leave, accused of stealing money that Chipotle could not prove because the video evidence had been erased.

“In addition to taping over the video evidence, Paboojian told the jury that Chipotle management deleted text messages and lost notes about the reasons for firing Ortiz,” the Bee reported.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter @FastFoodMaven

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