Judge Rules Chipotle’s Social Media Policy Violates US Labor Laws

A former Chipotle employee was fired after criticizing the company on Twitter

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Chipotle must offer James Kennedy his job back and pay him for lost wages.

Former Chipotle employee James Kennedy has gotten the last laugh, or rather, the last tweet, in a case against his former employer. An administrative judge ruled in favor of Kennedy, and found Chipotle’s social media policy violated federal labor laws, reports The Associated Press.

It all began with a tweet from Kennedy after a customer had tweeted thanks for a free food offer in January 2015. The tweet read, “@ChipotleTweets, nothing is free, only cheap #labor. Crew members make only $8.50hr how much is that steak bowl really?”

Kennedy later took down the tweet as a supervisor had pointed out the company’s social media policy, which banned “disparaging, false” statements about Chipotle. It was two weeks later when Kennedy was fired for circulating a petition about workers not being able to take their breaks. 

According to the ruling, Chipotle must offer to rehire Kennedy and pay him for lost wages. Additionally, the judge ordered the chain to post signs that acknowledge some of its employee policies are illegal. Kennedy says he would be willing to accept his back wages in the form of food vouchers, saying, “You cannot deny that their food is delicious, but their labor policies were atrocious.”

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