19-year-old girl wins multimillion-dollar lawsuit against Chipotle

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - A 19-year-old girl said she was sexually harassed by two managers at the Chipotle restaurant on Eldridge Parkway in the Energy Corridor in west Houston for four months in 2013.

This week, a jury awarded her and her attorneys a multimillion-dollar judgment.

The now-19-year-old told KPRC 2, “It was definitely hard. I never expected it to be like that. I just went there to work and earn some money and I never expected that from managers to treat women like they're not supposed to be treated."

Her attorneys said she left the business because of the abuse.

"It's almost like a brothel that just served food. That's the best way to characterize this restaurant,” said attorney Ben Hall, who represented the girl.

He said one manager repeatedly sexually assaulted the girl while he said a second manager helped make it happen for four months in 2013.

Hall said, "The evidence showed that one of the supervisors had more than 50 [incidents of] unprotected sexual intercourse with this child and oral sex."

Hall said, on average, the sexual encounters happened every three and a half days.

The girl and her attorneys sued Chipotle and two of its managers in Harris County District Court.

A jury awarded her $7.65 million plus legal fees.

Hall said, "In the words of the jury, they had made up their mind the first week and they wanted to make sure that the little 16-year-old was taken care of for the rest of her life."

Chipotle released a statement.

It said, “We care deeply about all of our employees, but even our rigorous policies specifically designed to protect our employees cannot prevent private relationships that happen away from the workplace during non-work hours, such as occurred in this case. We continue to offer our support for this former employee, and hope for her wellbeing. Chipotle goes to great lengths to provide safe and productive work environments. We have internal policies, procedures, and training to address issues and potential problems between employees if ever they arise. None of our employees were made aware of this relationship which took place outside of work. We learned of it only when the former employee's parents demanded money and filed a lawsuit, and by that time neither of the employees worked for the company any longer.“

The victim is in school and lives out of state.

She told KPRC 2, "I'm just glad that it's over and justice was made."

2016 Click2Houston/KPRC2