Chipotle loses $7.7M sexual harassment suit

chipotle mexican grill sign

In another public relations setback for Chipotle, the fast-casual chain was ordered to compensate a former employee $7.7 million for repeated sexual abuse three years ago by two unit-level managers.

The plaintiff was 16 at the time and a new hire for a Chipotle in Houston. The managers had an alleged 50 sexual liasons with the girl, or relations every 3.5 days during her employment.

The girl was not identified because she was underage at the time.

Chipotle issued a statement saying it did not learn of the alleged harassment until the girl’s lawyers had filed a lawsuit and demanded money. By that time, the statement indicated, the two managers were no longer employed by the company.

The statement asserted that the chain does everything within its power to protect employees from sexual harassment.

All Chipotles are company-owned and operated.

The jury's finding for the plaintiff was the latest setback for the chain, which has been reeling since customers were sickened by E. coli at a number of units in late 2015. More recently, the brand's marketing chief, Mark Crumpacker, was indicted in the breakup of a cocaine supply ring in New York City.

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


2 more reminders that the restaurant business is risky

The Bottom Line: Franchising is no less risky than opening your own restaurant. Just ask former NFL player David Tyree and the former president of McDonald's Mexico.


There's plenty happening at the high end of the pricing barbell, too

Reality Check: Decadent meal choices are also proliferating, for a lot more than $5.


Reassessing McDonald's tech deals from 2019

The Bottom Line: The fast-food giant’s decision to end its drive-thru AI test with IBM is the latest pullback away from a pair of technology acquisitions it made five years ago.


More from our partners