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Chipotle busted for hiring illegal workers

Chipotle hiring practice uproar

When you think of delicious, affordable burritos that are high in nutrition, Chipotle Grill usually is one of the first restaurants that come to mind. However, when you think about illegal immigrants working the kitchen of a national restaurant chain, Chipotle is one of the last places you would expect.

In 2010, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted an investigation on certain Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota and found that over 450 employees were not eligible for hire and were fired immediately. Since then, the ICE has moved on to Chipotle operations in other states in hopes of discovering  more illegal workers.

How could a publicly traded chain that has such tasty food, sleek dining areas and a creative staff who are able to fold even the largest of burritos into a deliciously crafted roll , be filled with hundreds of undocumented workers?

“Food with Integrity”?

The Wall Street Journal reports on how Chipotle’s workers got away with working illegally for some time. But Chipotle is just scratching the surface on the amount of companies that employ illegal immigrants, sometimes knowingly.

Most small business owners would pride themselves on being able to “hire” these undocumented workers because they haven’t been caught YET and they’ve saved money in the short term.

Department of Homeland Security logoBut with the immigration bill pressing the Obama Administration upping their investigations, it’s likely that these business owners are likely to pay significantly more than what they saved in“cheap” labor. Immigration laws state “Employers cannot KNOWINGLY hire or continue to employ individuals without employment authorization.”

The Immigration and Customs Enforcement has collected a record breaking “$7 Million in civil fines on businesses that employed illegal workers.”

How can businesses stay compliant when hiring?

Here are some employee hiring best practices  to follow from our Human Resources Experts:

  •  Properly Complete the I-9 for every person hired to perform labor or services in exchange for wages or other compensation
  • Make offer of employment before examining documents
  • Re-verify expired Employment Authorization Documents, not Legal Permanent Resident Cards
  • Verify the IDENTITY and WORK AUTHORIZATION of every new employee
  • Verify the RENEWAL of expired, temporary work authorization documents


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