DENVER (WCCO/AP) — Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. says it fired about 450 Minnesota employees last year who couldn’t prove they were eligible to work in the U.S.

The Denver-based restaurant chain previously hadn’t disclosed how many workers were dismissed after a Department of Homeland Security audit of employees’ work documents, saying only that it was in the hundreds.

Chipotle disclosed the number in a filing last week with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Chipotle says it requires all employees to have documents proving they are eligible to work in the U.S. but some workers may still be unauthorized.

A federal audit of workers’ documents also is under way at Chipotle restaurants in Virginia and Washington, D.C., to see if their documents are authentic or contain false information.

Former Chipotle employees filed a class action lawsuit in district court earlier this month. Former workers and supporters also held several demonstrations outside the Chipolte in downtown Minneapolis.

The former workers said the Mexican restaurant violated Minnesota’s payment wage act. The group’s attorney said the company has failed to pay earned wages or do so in a timely manner.

A Chipolte spokesperson responded, saying the workers’ demands are misplaced and that the company is paying everyone everything they are owed.

(TM and © Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (31)
  1. Ignorance must be bliss says:

    If you cannot work legally and were fired because of this how is there a lawsuit? This makes no sense and is just wasting time and money in courts.

    1. John says:

      I would think that the Minnesota’s payment wage act. would only cover US citizens but in this crazy world who knows. illegal immigrants probably have more right here in the US than do TRUE US citizens.

      1. violian says:

        Totally agree with you. If anything, they shouldn’t even get their remaining paycheck because they falsified that they were eligible to work.

  2. John says:

    Good for them – This place just became my favorite place for lunch.

    1. max says:

      Have fun with that. Their food sucks with all the recent turnover in employees.

    2. John says:

      I’d rather eat DOG FOOD served by an american Worker than gourmet foods served by Illegal aliens

      1. max says:

        If that’s how you feel, you may not want to go out to eat very often… actually, there’s a good chance that undocumented workers made the dog food, too.

      2. Mark from... says:

        I’d rather be catered by illegals than eat dog food from legals.. You must have really low standards! Chipotle’s burritos just doesn’t taste the same anymore…

  3. Sally says:

    There should be no issue here, no papers, bye, oh and btw, let me escort you to the border.

  4. Craig says:

    The should NOT be allowed to stay and just as pleasure to them fly the back to
    Mexico to the most southern part of Mexico at that.

  5. Senora Gringa says:

    Here we go, those darn Mexicans! Because all the brown, Spanish speaking people are from Mexico. Not El Paso, not Los Angeles, not Seattle. My brown, Spanish speaking husband just loves the idiots at his job that ask him how long he’s been here, if he married me just to get a green card or say that they can’t understand his accent. What accent? He was born in Tucson and Arizona’s been a state since 1912. Shocking, isn’t it? Some of them were born here (gasp).

    1. John says:

      If he is a american Citizen then he has nothing to worry about!!!

      1. Senora Gringa says:

        But why would you question if he’s American and not me? Is it because I have blue eyes and brown hair? Why is Gustafson American and Gonzales not? My family has been in America about 160 years. His family has always been here. They were scrawling on cave walls in the southwest while mine was hoping Columbus would set sail.

  6. Fat Liberal says:

    All illegals need to be REMOVED…..I never went to Chipolte…now I go at least once a week…as do my family and freinds…we are the silent majority…you know the ones that this liberal bs state and media ignore……Screw illegals…if you like them so much…go back to Mexico (or where ever) with them….my unemployed American friends will take both of your jobs….Liberal morons….

  7. JamieinMN says:

    Illegal aliens get EVERYTHING! I’m getting sick of it! It’s not fair, that I pay FULL AMOUNT for my medical benefits as well, and I have to sit in line BEHIND them at the ER for 3+ hours! We need to take back this country as ours. I was born here, it is MY country.

    1. helper says:

      Your a bigot… Sound pretty uneducated as well…

      1. John says:

        He may be a Bigot or he may not be. But he is a American !!!!! I’m sure they would appreciate you educated mind in Mexico – Go ahead and head that way!!!!

      2. JamieinMN says:

        Oh, and you call ME uneducated??? At least I know the difference between your and you’re.

    2. JamieinMN says:

      I (SHE) am not a bigot. Please explain HOW I am uneducated. Please explain how illegal aliens get better care than I, as a full time working American…Please tell me.

    3. Senora Gringa says:

      To John, how do you know he’s an American citizen? Because he says so? Without papers, we can’t be certain and we can’t ask for papers of just a few, we have to ask for papers from all.

      1. JamieinMN says:

        I have EVERYTHING, and NOTHING to worry about. I can prove my legal citizenship.

  8. Nofunallowedguy says:

    I wonder if they have a union?

    1. John says:

      I’m not sure, but there may be many Union workers who may need to get a job their soon!!!

  9. kat says:

    Sorry but is nobody holding the employer responsible at all? I own a business and there is no way I would hire anyone with out proper papers. They get jobs because somebody wants to save a buck and they know that they can pay them less. I am fed up with everyone saying they are “taking” our jobs. No, somebody gave that job to them. So if you really want to get mad, get mad at the employer who hired them.

    1. JamieinMN says:

      FYI, they DO know how to make believable FAKE papers, fake IDs, fake, DL’s, fake SSN’s, etc. I’m sure the employer is taking quite a hit as well.

  10. Jason says:

    Chipotle will hire on new staff and their stock will continue to grow. As for the 450 illegals, they will get money from the state and will absolutaly not be deported. If you have a problem with that, which I do, then get on your lawmakers a$$.

    1. Nofunallowedguy says:

      Don’t worry. I just heard Gov Walker is going to hire them to teach school in Wisconsin.

  11. kat says:

    Jamie- that is why you verify with the state.

  12. Karen says:

    Where is mine? How is Chipolte paying? No concern with MN Dept. Revenue? Need to review employer’s tax payments/ Sub-culture paid in cash w/no taxes? Americans would be working and paying taxes! Stolen I.D.’s ??

  13. BurritoLuvr says:

    I hope hiring local/legal does not mean inflating the prices…Its hard to find vegetarian food at restaurants, Chipotle veggie burritos are the best, I can eat them every day. Plus they have a special buy one get one offer available here:

  14. Anora says:

    Nice to see racism alive and well by so many who responded to this story. Yes, they were in wage violation and in federal violation for hiring illegal immigrants but that is no cause to put down the hard working people willing to do a job you are probably not willing to do.

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