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Former Chipotle employee alleges racial discrimination in lawsuit

Workers at chain restaurants in the Los Angeles area are often subject to a variety of different employment practices. In a lawsuit recently filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, a former employee of a Chipotle restaurant in El Segundo is alleging she has been the victim of at least three illegal practices: racial discrimination, workplace harassment and wrongful termination.

The plaintiff is a black woman who was originally hired by the restaurant in 2012. At first, she fit in well and received several promotions. But after she returned from maternity leave, she alleges that the work environment had changed. A Latina woman had been promoted to the position of district manager, and she and two other Latina executives began giving more desirable day jobs to Latino workers and moving the plaintiff and other black workers to the night shift. When the plaintiff complained to a male Latino manager, he said that "black girls always have an attitude."

In an effort to resolve the problem, the plaintiff spoke to the district manager in January 2016 about the alleged unfair treatment, and the manager denied the employee's allegations. In spite of this denial, the district manager said that she would personally set the employees' schedules from then on. According to the complaint, nothing happened, and several days later, the plaintiff was discharged without receiving any explanation. She then filed her lawsuit in Superior Court. Chipotle has not responded to the allegations of the complaint except to state that the complaint is only a series of allegations and not evidence of any wrongdoing.

People who have had similar work experiences and who have been discharged after calling attention to workplace violations may have a claim for damages. A consultation with a lawyer who specializes in racial harassment and wrongful termination claims can provide a helpful overview of the facts of the case, the legal principles that may apply, and the likelihood of recovering damages and attorneys' fees.

Source: CBS Los Angeles, "Former Worker at El Segundo Chipotle Sues Chain For Racial Discrimination," Sept. 13, 2016

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