Documents filed by attorneys for Chipotle claim that the closure of its Augusta location in July was due to the business failing, rather than because of employees seeking to form a union, according to the Kennebec Journal.
The claim, which the Kennebec Journal obtained by a Freedom of Information Act request, is part of an eight-page filing by Chipotle attorneys submitted on Nov. 17. The company was required to respond to a complaint by the National Labor Relations Board that accused the fast-casual chain of illegally closing its Augusta location in July, a month after its employees voted to form a union in June.
Laura Sacks, the regional director of the NLRB’s Boston office, alleged that Chipotle “closed its Augusta store and terminated the employees there because they had supported and assisted the union and engaged in concerted activities” in the Nov. 4 complaint.
The documents also claim that the company decided not to rehire an employee, Brandi McNeese, based on her regular poor attendance and job performance, rather than her participation in union activities. McNeese, who was widely quoted as part of the Augusta Chipotle’s union drive, claimed that she was blacklisted from applying for a position at a Chipotle location in Auburn, about 45 minutes away from her previous store.
Chipotle is seeking to dismiss the complaint by saying that the NLRB does not have jurisdiction over managerial decisions if there is no sufficient evidence it took those actions to prevent union activity, according to the Kennebec Journal. The company claims that there isn’t evidence to show that it was acting in violation of its workers’ right to organize, so the complaint should be dismissed.
The case is expected to be heard by an administrative law judge sometime next year, according to the Portland newspaper, although there is no guarantee that the Augusta location will reopen or that Chipotle will take further action outside of fighting the complaint at this time.