After taking into consideration all of the crazy shit that Chipotle has been in the news for lately, it’s a bit baffling to me that they continue to flex their consistently deflating muscle. After all, you would think that spreading the norovirus, dealing with an E. Coli outbreak and allowing salmonella to take root in the food would be enough to keep the Chipotle powers at bay. One employee, however, was not spared the rod.
James Kennedy, 38, was fired from Chipotle last year after his superiors caught wind of a questionable tweet he tweeted. In fact, Kennedy’s comments were actually just a response to another member of the twitterverse claiming they received a free meal. Kennedy responded by saying, “@ChipotleTweets, nothing is free, only cheap #labor. Crew members make only $8.50hr how much is that steak bowl really?”
According to Matt Stone from Law Newz, Kennedy was initially warned about the tweet and was asked to take it down. He ended up getting fired two weeks later after circulating a petition claiming that Chipotle’s employees don’t get breaks. Chipotle representatives have been claiming the two issues are separate and were judged as so, yet anyone can see that it’s quite likely that Kennedy was fired thanks to a combination of the two. Kennedy felt as though he was wrongly terminated, and after Judge Susan Flynn ruled in his favor and pointed out what Chipotle did wrong, it was easy to see that he was right.
Judge Flynn determined that Kennedy’s comments were not to be considered “disparaging, false” comments, as Kennedy was initially told by his supervisor. Rather, she decided that Chipotle’s rules on posting to social media violated federal labor laws, resulting in her verdict ordering the massive fast food chain to give him his job back, pay him for lost wages and to start posting signs clarifying the employee policies.
“You cannot deny that their food is delicious, but their labor policies were atrocious,” said Kennedy shortly after Judge Flynn made her ruling.