Wayne Hsiung

Published on:

April 15, 2014

Chipotle to Employee: Victim of Domestic Violence? You're Fired!

by Wayne Hsiung

The New York Daily News wrote yesterday about a woman who was fired from her job at Chipotle... for being assaulted by an abusive boyfriend. The company, of course, regales the public with tales of workplace integrity and enthusiasm. It describes every one of its employees, other than its lowest crew member, as a "manager." And CEO Steve Ells talks in a recent Netflix documentary about how he cares for every employee that his corporation -- a 1600+ location monstrosity -- hires. 

But when it came to Natasha Velez, a line worker who chopped vegetables and made guacamole, Chipotle's conception of care apparently did not run very far. And this is par for the course. Chipotle talks a big game -- emphasizing its sustainability (while refusing to make any sort of accountability report), killing millions of animals (while talking about how much it loves them), and promising to never exploit its workers (while paying them a pittance... and then punishing them for being hospitalized by abusive boyfriends). 

We will be writing more about this in the weeks to come. But Chipotle's lies, in short, extend far beyond animal cruelty, as horrific as the animal cruelty is. In more ways than one, Chipotle represents everything that's problematic about corporate America -- a focus on appearing to do good, rather than actually doing good. And by confronting Chipotle, we help to build a vision of the world where we are no longer dependent on, duped by, and even desperate for corporate illusions. We help to build a truly better world.