Qdoba and Chipotle to pay millions to settle alleged labor violations in Washington state

Qdoba agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a pay transparency lawsuit. Chipotle agreed to pay more than $3 million in a case related to alleged scheduling and paid leave violations in Seattle.
Qdoba is among a growing number of employers charged with violating pay transparency laws. | Photo: Shutterstock.

Two fast-casual Mexican chains have run afoul of employment regulations in Washington state, together agreeing to pay a total of almost $7 million to resolve two separate actions.

San Diego-based Qdoba agreed to pay $3.8 million to settle a lawsuit alleging the chain violated the state’s pay transparency requirements, according to a lawsuit in King County Superior Court (Moliga v. Qdoba Restaurant Corp.)

The lawsuit, filed in June 2023, alleged that Qdoba failed to list the wage scale or salary range and general description of benefits and other compensation in its job postings, as is required by state law.

Washington is among eight states with pay transparency laws, which are designed to help close gender and race gaps by helping applicants negotiate pay rates, compare offers and prevent employers from basing an offer on an individual’s salary history, according to the Seattle Times.

In a separate case last week, Chipotle agreed to a nearly $3 million settlement related to alleged violations of city scheduling and paid leave regulations at eight units in Seattle, according to the Seattle office of Labor Standards.

Chipotle agreed to pay a total of $2.9 million to 1,853 employees, and about $7,300 to the City of Seattle. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based chain also agreed to develop a written secure scheduling ordinance.

It was the largest secure scheduling ordinance settlement since the law had gone into effect, the agency said. Chipotle was charged with failing to provide premium pay for schedule changes when required, retaliating against workers for declining to work or consent to a shift change with less than 14 days' notice, or for asking not to be scheduled during certain times, and failing to maintain records.

Allegations also included violations of the Paid Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, and retaliation against a worker who called out sick.

An unnamed worker who filed the complaint said the intention was to advocate for team members, many of whom are immigrants who are unaware of their rights and have endured hardship.

Neither Qdoba nor Chipotle responded to requests for comment.


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