National

Nov 16, 2012 5:13 PM by Kirsten Bennett

Chipotle to defend itself against labor lawsuit

DENVER (AP) - Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. says a lawsuit alleging the company has failed to pay overtime to hundreds of employees is frivolous.

The class-action complaint filed Thursday in federal court in New York says Chipotle misclassified its "apprentices" as managerial salaried employees who don't qualify for overtime pay. The suit contends apprentices earn salaries of $40,000 but frequently work more than 40 hours a week and often perform the duties of hourly workers, including cooking and filling orders.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said Friday the Denver-based restaurant chain carefully defines the roles in its restaurants and that the apprentice position is "clearly" a managerial role ineligible for overtime, under state and federal laws.

The lawsuit seeks back pay and damages.

Chipotle has about 1,350 restaurants.

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