- Hollis Johnson
- Chipotle is being forced to pay a former manager nearly $8 million after she was accused of stealing $626 and fired.
- The ex-manager’s lawyers argued she was unfairly fired and accused of theft after taking medical leave due to a work-related injury.
- The manager had been making $70,000 a year at the burrito chain prior to her termination.
Chipotle is being forced to pay a former manager $8 million after she was fired from the chain following accusations of theft.
In 2015, Jeanette Ortiz was fired as a general manager at a Fresno, California Chipotle after working for the chain for 14 years, The Fresno Bee reports. Ortiz was accused of stealing $626 in cash from the restaurant’s safe, with Chipotle superiors claiming to have viewed video footage that implicated her.
However, Ortiz’s attorneys allege that Chipotle destroyed the footage after Ortiz denied stealing the cash. According to the attorneys, Warren Paboojian and Jason Bell, Ortiz was maliciously fired after going on medical leave due to a job-related injury caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.
Last week, jurors ordered Chipotle to pay Ortiz $6 million for emotional distress and $1.97 million for loss of past and future wages.
“In closing arguments, Paboojian said the ordeal of losing her job and being labeled a thief caused Ortiz to suffer anxiety and humiliation,” The Fresno Bee reported. “He also told the jury that she felt worthless and couldn’t sleep.”
Ortiz had worked at Chipotle for 14 years, earning $70,000 a year as general manager. Her attorneys told the jury she was in talks for a promotion that would have raised her salary to $100,000 a year.
Chipotle did not respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The company has struggled in recent years to recover following an E. coli outbreak in late 2015. In March, longtime CEO Steve Ells was replaced by Brian Niccol, who was previously Taco Bell’s top executive.