Chipotle and a former employee settled the woman’s lawsuit in which she said that she and other female workers at a Warner Center-area eatery were sexually harassed by four managers who allegedly commented about large breasts and put cold, iced hands under her shirt.
The lawsuit also alleged managers used security cameras to spy on customers they found attractive.
Lawyers for Ariana Castaneda filed court papers Feb. 21 with Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Monica Bachner seeking dismissal of the case. No settlement terms were divulged.
“All four managers created a sexually charged atmosphere directed at female employees and customers,” according to Castaneda’s lawsuit, which was filed in March 2016 and alleged wrongful termination, sexual harassment, retaliation and discrimination.
The plaintiff, who worked for Chipotle from December 2013 until she was fired in February 2016, was a lead kitchen worker at the chain’s Woodland Hills restaurant on Canoga Avenue, according to her court papers.
Her lawsuit named Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc., along with Pablo Aguilar, identified as the restaurant’s general manager; supervisor Ruben Hernandez; and service managers Tommy Lee and Erick Morcillo. Chipotle lawyers denied any wrongdoing on the part of their clients.
Castaneda’s position required her to wear a particular uniform, according to the lawsuit, which alleged Aguilar purposely ordered a black uniform shirt for her that was too small. She claims that after she complained and asked for a larger shirt size, Aguilar replied, “Is it because your (breasts) are too big?”
Aguilar ordered another shirt for Castaneda, but it also was too small and he again harassed her about her breast size, the suit alleged.
The plaintiff also alleged Hernandez would try to forcibly hug her and would touch her under her shirt after putting his hands on ice or another cold substance. Castaneda complained and tried to push Hernandez away, according to her court papers.
Morcillo and Lee made inappropriate remarks about the breasts of a female former employee and mocked her because a customer made a critical remark about her on Yelp, the lawsuit alleged.
Morcillo also called female employees derogatory names in Spanish and would reply “whatever” when Castaneda protested, the suit alleged.
The Woodland Hills location is near a gym, and female patrons dressed in workout attire often visited the Chipotle restaurant, the suit stated.
“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 suit alleged.
“The managers also would regularly issue a `manager comp’ for meals if they thought the female customer was attractive,” according to the lawsuit.
Castaneda said she hurt her left arm, left shoulder and lower back while taking out the trash the same month she was fired. She alleged Morcillo questioned her about the validity of her injuries, harassed her and called her “lazy” for not helping to lift heavy boxes.
Two days later, Castaneda logged onto her Chipotle employee account and found out she had been fired, according to her court papers. She alleged she lost her job because she complained about conditions in the workplace.
–City News Service