The shitstorm that is 2016 continues to rain down on Chipotle.
From class action food poisoning lawsuits, to animal welfare issues, to big drops in sales and stock price, there seems to be no end in sight to fast casual restaurant chain's legal and market woes. Continuing in this vein, Chipotle is now having to contend with allegations of racial discrimination and harassment at a California franchise.
According to a lawsuit filed by Sheqweshu Clark, a former employee at a Chipotle in El Segundo, California, Latino managers allegedly assigned day shifts to other Latino employees, while black staff like herself were relegated to less favorable night shifts.
But that's just the tip of the iceberg in Clark's lawsuit, according to CBS Los Angeles. It goes on to allege that management denied that there was any problem with shift assignment or discrimination, and then fired Clark weeks later without any explanation. She even claims that when she confronted supervisors about preferential treatment, she was "brushed off" and told, "black girls always have an attitude."
Among the formal allegations put forth in the lawsuit are racial discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, workplace harassment, and failure to prevent harassment.
Chipotle, for its part, isn't commenting on the specific allegations."We only now received the suit and will evaluate its merits and determine a course of action," spokesman Chris Arnold said in a statement. "Generally speaking, however, a lawsuit is nothing more than a series of allegations and does not constitute proof of any wrongdoing on our part."
This isn't the only legal news involving Chipotle to emerge this week. The burrito chain reportedly gave at least one customer coupons for free burritos as part of an undisclosed financial settlement relating to last year's food poisoning cases, an addendum that her lawyer said he never even asked for. Something tells us she won't be using it.
In the wake of this continuing string of lawsuits, let's hope that Chipotle is treating its legal department to all the free burritos they want—they're going to need all the nourishment they can get.