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Minnesota man sues Chipotle, says he was forced to work late without pay

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A Minnesota man has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill, claiming he and his coworkers were required to work "off the clock" without pay, and even if they didn't punch out, the time clock did that for them.

Deshandre Woodards' attorneys filed the federal lawsuit on Oct. 8, according to the U.S. District Court of Minnesota website. The lawsuit seeks unpaid wages, unspecified damages and legal fees for Woodards, who worked at the Golden Valley restaurant from October 2011 to August 2012, as well as the other hourly-wage employees in a similar situation, according to the class action complaint, which was published by Law 360.

The lawsuit alleges:

The company encourages managers to require off-the-clock work by rewarding them with bonuses and other compensation if they stay within their payroll budgets. If the budget is exceeded, the general manager's job is threatened, which has resulted in understaffing at restaurants.

Hourly-paid restaurant employees routinely work "off the clock" without compensation because the restaurant requires them to punch out and continue working until they're given permission to leave. Even if the employee doesn't punch out, the time clock device Chipotle uses automatically records that they have punched out, even if they are still working.

Employees are also required to attend training sessions and meetings "for which they are not allowed to punch in."

Unpaid time would range from 10 to 15 hours a week.

If an employee complained, they would be scheduled for fewer hours and labeled as not being a "team player" and having a "bad attitude."

Chipotle also failed to report and record the hours worked by paid employees.

These practices were carried out at its stores nationwide and Chipotle has "actual knowledge that work is performed by hourly employees without compensation."

Denver-based Chipotle employs 300,000 hourly-paid workers nationwide and has about 50 restaurants in Minnesota.

This isn't the first time Chipotle has been accused of similar practices. There are other lawsuits across the country that make similar allegations, and there's another active federal lawsuit in Minnesota.

That lawsuit, which was filed last year, is seeking to recover what the the suit claims is unpaid overtime compensation and other wages for hourly-paid employees who were required to work "off the clock" and without pay.

Chipotle has denied those claims, the Star Tribune reports, but has not responded to Woodards' lawsuit.

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