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Chipotle to pay nearly $3 million to settle allegations of retaliation against workers

Chipotle Mexican Grill will pay $2.9 million to 1,853 employees across eight Seattle locations in a settlement over allegations of violating shift changes and sick time regulations.

The food chain will pay an additional $7,308 to the City of Seattle, according to the Seattle Office of Labor Standards. The company will also establish a written Secure Scheduling Ordinance policy offering protections for employees relating to shifts.

"Ensuring workers’ rights, such as secure schedules and paid sick and safe time without the fear of retaliation, should be the norm, not the exception," OLS Director Steven Marchese said in the Thursday news release. "We believe in fundamental fairness in Seattle and that includes accountability when a large corporation such as Chipotle does not follow our labor standards and causes harm to their workers."

The settlement marks the largest SSO settlement since the ordinance began in 2017 and the fourth largest in the office's history, the release added.

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With the chain's comprehensive sick leave policy, employees are granted three paid sick days with no waiting period and the average hourly wage of $20.20 for crew members in the 10 Seattle locations, Chipotle Chief Corporate Affairs Officer Laurie Schalow said in a statement.

"We have implemented a number of compliance initiatives, including adding new and improved time keeping technology, to help our restaurants and we look forward to continuing to promote the goals of predictable scheduling and access to work hours for those who want them," Schalow said.

Chipotle accused of retaliating against staff who called out sick

The now-settled investigation was launched in July 2017 after multiple Chipotle workers alleged the company failed to comply with the city's labor standards.

The labor standards office alleged that the company failed to provide premium pay for required schedule changes and maintain records of original work shifts. The chain was also accused of retaliating against an employee who requested to not be scheduled at certain times because of a second job and for declining shift changes made with less than 14 day's notice.

Additionally, the office alleged that Chipotle failed to occur the correct PSST accrual and retaliated against staff who called out sick.

How to file wage theft complaint?

American workers can file private lawsuits or complaints with the U.S. Department of Labor at the federal level or at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries at the state level.

Seattle-based employees can also file a complaint with the Office of Labor Standards.

The food service industry sees more wage theft complaints in Washington than any other industry in the state, according to the Seattle Times.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chipotle settles wage theft allegation with $2.9 million payment