Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. (NYSE:CMG) has lost a case filed against it for violating labor laws through its social media policy.
The administrative judge who presided over the case ruled against the company. The case was held in Philadelphia, and filed by James Kennedy after being fired by the company for posting criticizing comments on the Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) microblogging platform.
Kennedy had been working at the company’s chain in Havertown until February 15 when he was sacked. He however managed to get a union job at American Airlines (NASDAQ: AAL). Nevertheless, he believed that he was unfairly fired from Chipotle and thus his reason for filing a lawsuit against the company. During an interview with Philly.com, Kennedy stated that everyone has the right to tweet about their personal experiences at their jobs. Apparently companies do not have every right to terminate employment relationships though. Kennedy stated that executives will hide the truth behind operations most of the time but tweeting it puts them on the spot.
Susan Flynn who presided over the case informed Chipotle that some of its policies especially on social media were illegal. Kennedy will receive compensation for the lost wages after he was fired. The judicial ruling opens new ground for Chipotle employees to put up more complaints against poor working conditions and low wages at the fast food chain. Kennedy was supported by the Pennsylvania Workers Organizing Committee because of its interest in pushing for higher wages for employees working at fast food joints.
The lawsuit also received backing from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Chipotle has not made any comments on the matter but Kennedy’s former manager claimed that she fired him because she feared he would turn violent. The 38–year old is a war veteran and perhaps that’s why Kennedy stated that he would accept the wages in the form of food vouchers because he still loves Chipotle cuisine.