Chipotle agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by a former worker who claimed four managers sexually harassed her and four other female employees at the Woodland Hills location.
Ariana Castaneda worked for Chipotle from December 2013 until February 2016 when she was fired.
Castaneda alleged that her manager Pablo Aguilar ordered a uniform that was too small for her on purpose. After she asked for a bigger size, Aguilar reportedly asked if it’s because her breasts are too big.
She also claimed that her supervisor Ruben Hernandez hugged her without consent and tried to touch her under her shirt after putting his hand on ice.
“All four managers created a sexually charged atmosphere directed at female employees and customers,” the lawsuit said, which was filed in March 2016.
The lawsuit also alleges that the managers spied on female customers they found attractive.
“Often, when an attractive woman would walk in, Aguilar would rush to the back office to use the security cameras so he could gain an overhead view of the customer’s cleavage. The managers also would regularly issue a ‘manager comp’ for meals if they thought the female customer was attractive,” the lawsuit said.
When Castaneda injured her shoulder, arm and lower back while taking out the trash at work, her manager Erick Morcillo allegedly questioned whether she was truly hurt or not and accused her of being lazy for not lifting heavy boxes. She said she was later fired for complaining about the conditions at work.
This isn’t the first time Chipotle has been in hot water for sexual harassment. In September 2016, a Chipotle in Houston settled a $7.65 million lawsuit with a former female worker, who said she was repeatedly sexually harassed by her manager.
The victim was just 16 years old at the time and said her manager pressured her into engaging in sexual acts.
“The fact of the matter is that these sexual assaults were being committed by managers,” her lawyer Adrian Villacorta said. These aren’t low-level crew members. These are managers, agents of the corporation. So the jury grasped on to that concept — that the manager who was committing sexual assaults and an upper level manager who helped facilitate the assaults, were Chipotle. What they knew, Chipotle knew.”
The victim eventually quit her job and the manager got fired for telling lies during the investigation.
Villacorta said the particular case is unique because the victim was a minor.
“She was 16 years old. And Chipotle was trying to make a defense that a 16-year-old can welcome sexual conduct. And the laws of the state of Texas clearly provide that if you’re under 17, you cannot consent to sexual activity,” he said.