Tough days ahead for employers. Chipotle Mexican Grill has fired a substantial number of the 1,200 employees at its 50 Minnesota restaurants after a federal immigration audit found some were illegal workers. The circumstances of the firings sparked a protest by several dozen people. As Greg Nammacher, secretary-treasurer of the Service Employees International Union (“SEIU”), Local 26 in St. Paul said: “companies all over this country are using immigrant labor, and then, when the government shines a light on those employees, the companies wash their hands of them.”
The investigation of Chipotle began several months ago, when ICE asked to see work eligibility documents. The company was not told why it was singled out for review. ICE then provided Chipotle with a list of employees whose documents might be invalid.
Chipotle tries to screen new employees, but some provide false documents showing they are eligible workers. In cases where employees insist they have the proper documents, Chipotle has sought to give them extra time to produce the identification.
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