Chipotle now has nurses to check on employees who call in sick, to make sure they aren’t just hungover

Chipotle now has nurses to check on employees who call in sick, to make sure they aren’t just hungover

It's part of their grand plan, to keep burritos norovirus free

CultureDecember 06, 2019 By Will Brendza

At Chipotle Mexican Grill, Chipotle nurses are now kept on call to make sure that employees who call in sick, aren’t just hungover.

The nurse validates that it’s not a hangover — you’re really sick — and then we pay for the day off to get healthy again,” the company’s CEO Brian Niccol told Business Insider.

The optics of this policy might suggest that Chipotle has a problem with its employees getting too rowdy on nights before work; that there might have been an issue with employees abusing the system and calling in sick en masse just because they were too hungover to roll a burrito.

However, this policy has more to do with health standards, according to a company spokesperson, than drunk employees. Following a series of health scares including a norovirus outbreak in 2017, where diners got extremely ill after eating at Chipotle restaurants, the company has had to drastically step up their food safety standards. They didn’t want to be seen as the Mexican chain that slings norovirus burritos — if that image had stuck, it could have been the end for Chipotle.

“We have a very different food-safety culture than we did two years ago, OK?” Niccol told reporters at a conference. “Nobody gets to the back of the restaurant without going through a wellness check.”

And if you call in sick, you can opt to have that nurse come verify your illness so you can take a paid sick day. The Chipotle spokesperson was adamant, though, that the nurse is a voluntary service and not a mandatory one designed to bust staff who are trying to lie about being ill.

How much action will these nurses actually see? Only time will tell.

Regardless, this is good news for burrito lovers everywhere, because it means that Chipotle is protecting us. Or, at least, they’re doing their very best to make sure those delicious burritos don’t harm us.

So, rest easy, good people. Your burritos are safe, thanks to these new Chipotle nurses.