published : 2023-10-01

Federal Agency Files Lawsuit Against Chipotle for Alleged Religious Harassment and Retaliation

Manager forcibly removes Muslim worker's hijab, leading to a hostile working environment

A photo of a diverse group of Chipotle employees wearing their uniforms, showcasing the inclusive work environment at the restaurant. (Taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV)

A federal agency has filed a lawsuit against popular restaurant chain Chipotle, accusing it of religious harassment and retaliation against a Muslim worker.

The lawsuit alleges that an assistant manager at a Chipotle in Lenexa, Kansas repeatedly asked a 19-year-old worker to remove her hijab and show him her hair, despite her objections.

The worker reported the manager's behavior to another supervisor, but the franchise failed to take action.

The manager's harassment escalated when he forcibly removed part of the worker's hijab in August.

An image of a Muslim woman confidently wearing a hijab, symbolizing religious freedom and diversity in the workplace. (Taken with a Nikon D850)

Even after the incident was reported, Chipotle did not address the issue, leading the worker to submit her resignation.

The lawsuit claims that the manager's offensive and incessant requests, as well as his attempt to remove the hijab himself, were based on religion and created a hostile working environment.

Furthermore, the lawsuit accuses Chipotle of retaliating against the worker by refusing to schedule her for additional shifts unless she agreed to transfer locations.

Meanwhile, the manager responsible for the harassment was allowed to continue working at the same store.

A picture of a protest sign with the words 'No Discrimination' and 'Equal Rights' held by activists, advocating for justice and fair treatment. (Taken with a Sony Alpha A7 III)

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) filed the lawsuit after attempts to reach a settlement failed.

The EEOC is seeking monetary relief for the victim and an order to prevent future religious discrimination.

Chipotle's actions are alleged to violate the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination and retaliation against employees who complain about discriminatory treatment.

In response to the lawsuit, Chipotle's chief corporate affairs officer emphasized the company's zero-tolerance policy for discrimination and confirmed that the employee involved in the incident has been terminated.