| March 29
March 29 A federal judge on Wednesday granted a
bid by Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc to undo a class action
lawsuit by manager trainees in six states who say they were
unlawfully denied overtime pay.
U.S. District Judge Andrew Carter in Manhattan said the
former Chipotle "apprentices" from New York, Illinois and four
other states had varying duties depending on where they worked
and could not show they were all eligible for overtime pay.
The plaintiffs in the 2012 lawsuit said that when they
worked in the temporary, salaried positions training to manage
new restaurants, they often performed basic tasks that could be
assigned to hourly workers. That entitled them to overtime pay
under state wage laws, the workers said.
Carter's decision blocks the seven workers who filed the
lawsuit from representing a class of more than 500 people, which
could end the case altogether.
The company's victory on Wednesday came as it faced a larger
2014 lawsuit filed in federal court in Colorado by 10,000 hourly
workers who say they were required to work off the clock for no
pay. A U.S. appeals court in Colorado on Monday rejected
Chipotle's bid to undo the nationwide class of workers in that
Denver-based Chipotle, which operates more than 2,000 U.S.
restaurants, did not immediately respond to a request for
comment on Wednesday's ruling. Nor did lawyers for the
Unlike most other fast food chains that operate on a
franchise model, Chipotle owns its restaurants and is
responsible for wages and other employment decisions.
Salaried workers like the Chipotle apprentices are
automatically eligible for overtime pay under federal law if
they earn less than $23,660. Employees who earn more must be
paid overtime if they do not have management or administrative
Last year, a federal judge blocked a controversial Obama
administration rule that would have doubled the salary threshold
to about $47,500 and extended overtime pay to more than 4
The U.S. Department of Labor appealed the judge's ruling,
but it is unclear whether the administration of President Donald
Trump will pursue the case.
Trump's nominee for U.S. labor secretary, R. Alexander
Acosta, told a U.S. Senate panel last week that he had not made
a decision about how to proceed on the rule, but was concerned
about its impact on businesses and workers.
(Reporting by Daniel Wiessner in Albany, New York; Editng by