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Gardena Woman Sues Chipotle Over Workplace Discrimination Charges

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The woman claims preferential treatment towards Latinos by management

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Farley Elliott is the Senior Editor at Eater LA and the author of Los Angeles Street Food: A History From Tamaleros to Taco Trucks. He covers restaurants in every form, from breaking news to the culture, people, and history that surrounds LA's dining landscape.

A Gardena woman is taking a lawsuit to beleaguered national chain Chipotle over allegations that she was unfairly terminated after speaking up about preferential treatment towards co-workers.

Sheqweshu Clark filed the lawsuit Tuesday in court, noting her time working at Chipotle in El Segundo as one marred by preferential treatment towards Latino employees over her and her black colleagues. As My News LA reports, Clark had worked at the restaurant since 2012, but it was only after she left for maternity leave in December (and a new Latino co-worker was appointed district manager) that she alleges she and her co-workers began to notice the discrimination, including the unfair assignment of key shifts.

Clark alleges that she spoke several times to higher-ups regarding the improprieties, but was rebuffed repeatedly. The suit even says that at one point a manager "brushed off plaintiff and stated that 'black girls always have an attitude.'" Eventually Clark was terminated "without any explanation" in January of this year.

For their part, Chipotle had only just received news of the lawsuit, and offered a cursory response that they would need time to evaluate the merits of the claims. Of course, this isn’t the first time that someone has sued (and won) a case alleging preferential workplace treatment for a specific people group or ethnicity. Last year, a man successfully brought suit against Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles for much the same reason, winning a million-dollar payout that forced the company into bankruptcy. The Chipotle lawsuit is ongoing.