This is another of those unbelievable jury awards to a nonwhite involved in a dispute with a white (or Jewish) owned business.
In spite of pulling down a nice salary as a long-time Chipotle manager, Jeanette Ortiz was in deep financial trouble.
That’s when $636 disappeared.
Jeanette Ortiz — a 14-year Chipotle veteran before she was fired in 2015 — was awarded nearly $8 million by a jury in Fresno County Superior Court for loss of wages, as well as damage to her reputation and emotional and mental distress.
On Monday, she and her attorneys settled with Chipotle for a separate, confidential amount — apparently in lieu of punitive damages, which could have run as high as nine times the nearly $8 million award. Thus putting to an end the three-year ordeal that had branded the mother of nine a traitor.
“She’s the American Dream; she’s just a hardworking person. And when you call somebody a thief, you destroy their life,” Ortiz’s attorney, Warren Paboojian, told The Post after Monday’s verdict. “That’s the ultimate. You’re not going to be able to get a job anywhere with that label hanging over her head.”
Ortiz could not be reached by The Washington Post. Paboojian said she had worked 50 hours a week as a general manager at the Mexican fast-casual chain, making $72,000 a year. When she was fired in January 2015, she was up for a promotion in which she would have earned $100,000 a year. For years, Ortiz had consistently earned glowing performance reviews.
Paboojian said that in fall 2014, the Chipotle location where Ortiz worked had an extra $636, according to court documents, on hand after an armored car that routinely came to swap large bills out for smaller change didn’t show up. Paboojian said Ortiz found the extra money, sealed and stapled it in a manila envelope, and contacted the corporate office to flag the extra cash. She then put the money in a safe in view of a surveillance camera.
That December, Ortiz filed a workers’ compensation claim while suffering from carpal tunnel syndrome. Paboojian said her bosses were unhappy that she would be missing work. And Ortiz believed that she was fired because of her disability.
On Jan. 3, 2015, Ortiz texted her boss and two other superiors to say the money was missing from the safe, Paboojian said. She told them that she had last seen the money on Dec. 30, along with another assistant manager.
At that point, the store brought in another manager who looked at the surveillance footage and said it showed Ortiz taking the money and putting it in her backpack on Dec. 29 — a charge Ortiz denied.
When she asked to see the footage, the employees told her that was against corporate policy.
But Paboojian said there’s no actual written policy that dictates whether employees can be shown video footage in these cases.
“They use that lack of corporate policy as a weapon against their employees when they want to get rid of them,” Paboojian said.
In court, Paboojian said her bosses filmed over the tape and deleted text messages and other notes detailing why they fired Ortiz, the Bee reported.
Hinckley told jurors that while Ortiz’s bosses had no ill will toward her, they felt betrayed when she allegedly stole the money because the company had supported her through four pregnancies and four workers’ compensation claims, the Bee reported.
“She was well-liked. She was a valued employee. But she violated that trust by taking the money,” Hinckley told the jury, according to the Bee.
Hinckley also told jurors that Ortiz was struggling financially around the time her bosses accused her of stealing the cash. Ortiz had borrowed $1,700 from a relative to pay an electric bill, and she had to move from her house to a smaller apartment. Ortiz also told a colleague that she had taken on a second job, the Bee reported.
But in court, Paboojian noted that just because people are strapped for cash doesn’t mean they are thieves.
Paboojian told The Post that four other people had access to the safe. The money still has not been recovered.
If Jeanette had worked two jobs for ten lifetimes there’s no way the Mexican would have been able to accumulate $8 million in wages.
Most employers would not have put up with her repeated pregnancies and work absences. Hell, the company didn’t need to fabricate false theft charges against her. There was plenty of reason to terminate her. And real money is still missing, with no other suspects.
Either she or the other person with access to the safe took the money. I’ll bet you that left out of the story is that Jeanette failed or refused to take a lie detector exam.
Notice how the lawyer takes mistakes made by the company and blows them up into a conspiracy. Every company makes mistakes in situations like this. It can’t be helped.
I’ll also bet that the jury was heavily Mexican, ignorant Mexicans with a racial grudge against white America.
This country sucks! Any white man starting a business has a target on his back.