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Chipotle Illegally Fired Employee Who Participated in Labor Strikes

The judge ruled that the chain also illegally interrogated employees.


Burrito behemoth Chipotle is the latest restaurant to feel the wrath of the National Labor Relations Board. According to Think Progress, the chain was found guilty of violating the National Labor Relations Act, which protects the rights of private employees to organize into a union, engage in collective bargaining, and strike if deemed necessary. A Chipotle in St. Louis, Mo. fired an employee "who had gone on strike and talked about [their] wages at work." Patrick Leeper — who missed two days of work to participate in the protests for a $15 minimum wage — was fired in 2014 allegedly for "poor performance." However, in the three years he worked for the company, all of his performance reviews were rated satisfactory.

Leeper's manager found out that Leeper "had brought up how much workers are paid" and told him, "We don't talk about wages in the workplace because it creates drama and makes the workplace awkward." The manager also threatened to fire him if it happened again. The judge ruled that this move was illegal and found that chain had also illegally interrogated and threatened other workers who discussed their pay. So far the chain has refused to comment on the ruling noting that "Generally speaking, it is always a top priority for us to remain compliant with all local and federal labor laws."

McDonald's faces similar charges from the National Labor Relations Board. The government agency filed over a dozen complaints against the chain saying that McDonald's violated the rights of employees who participated in strikes by threatening and interrogating workers, cutting their hours, and in some cases, even firing them. The burger chain is putting all of its might into fighting the charges, claiming that it is actually the "victim" in the proceedings.