Daaaaaamn, Chipotle. Back at it again with the terrible publicity. The popular fast food chain is in the news once again for yet another gut-wrenching reason.
Less than two months ago, Chipotle closed all of its stores to conduct a food safety training after cases of E. coli were linked to the restaurant and the world collectively went into chaos.
For those of you who don’t know, E. Coli is a bacteria found in the intestines of mammals that can cause a variety of issues for the digestive system. The mishandling of food products can then lead to possible contamination. (Not good for a restaurant that has branded itself as a healthy alternative to other fast food choices.)
It has already been a tumultuous year for the chain, but as of last week, it was hit with a serious lawsuit. A former employee out of California alleged that her managers sexually harassed her over the course of two years.
At this point nothing is confirmed and Chipotle has not commented on the matter. However, the plaintiff claims that her managers harassed her in a variety of ways. Here is a brief laundry list of accusations against the managers:
- Ordering uniforms that were too tight for the plaintiff
- Issuing demeaning/misogynistic comments directed towards female employees
- Using overhead security cameras to spy on female employees
- Commenting on physical attributes in an inappropriate manner
- Inquiring about the plaintiff’s sex life on a regular basis
- Refusing to take injury reports seriously, often refuting claims by implying the injuries occurred during sexual activity
- Claiming the lack of productivity due to said injuries was due to the plaintiff being a female
Whenever the plaintiff would attempt to defend herself she was accused of insubordination and was eventually fired in February, though the cause of the firing has not been confirmed.
The entire incident is just conjecture as of now, however if any of the allegations end up being true, Chipotle’s image will be further tarnished. The company is already trying to make up for its past failings. In response to its E. Coli scandal, the company is set to give out tens of millions of dollars of free food this year as a way to bring back customers after the outbreak.
While the price is finally right on chips and guac, no amount of free food should make what happened in California okay. There is a major difference between foodborne illness and sexual misconduct as egregious as the allegations stipulate. While it would be ignorant to say that Chipotle will lose a vast amount of customers following court proceedings, let’s hope the chain will do some soul searching and be quite a bit more selective when it comes to deciding who best represents its company.
Photo courtesy of EOnline