Chipotle employee files lawsuit seeking overtime pay

A lawsuit seeking class action status on behalf of employees of the fast food restaurant chain Chipotle Mexican Grill claims that the company ignored a federal overtime rule that was to become effective on Dec. 1, 2016. A challenge in a Texas court has held up enforcement of the rule, but the lawsuit asserts that private employers were not part of the injunction.

Arguing that the rule should remain in effect until the court issues a ruling, the lawsuit seeks to collect unpaid overtime for the plaintiff. The new rule from the Department of Labor increased the number of employees eligible for overtime pay. An employer would be required to pay overtime when applicable to workers who earn up to $47,476. The previous cap on earnings to trigger overtime rules had been $23,660.

The lead plaintiff named on the lawsuit had been routinely working roughly 10 hours of overtime per week, and she earned approximately $43,000 a year as an apprentice general manager. The company stopped her overtime pay after the court injunction. A representative from Chipotle dismissed the lawsuit as mere accusations that failed to illustrate any violations of law.

Wage and hour laws are frequently a source of disputes between employees and employers. A person who wants to know about employee rights and the Fair Labor Standards Act could consult an attorney. Legal action to recover unpaid wages might be appropriate for problems like denial of breaks, unpaid overtime or a failure to meet minimum wage standards. As the U.S. Department of Labor is in charge of enforcing the FLSA, it could be advisable to start the action by filing a claim with that agency.

Source: USA Today, "Chipotle faces lawsuit over overtime pay dispute", Sophia Tulp, June 7, 2017

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