U.S. Attorney Looking Into Chipotle Hiring Practices

Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) said Tuesday that federal prosecutors have joined an ongoing investigation into the popular chain eatery’s hiring practices.

Chipotle has been targeted in the past by federal authorities for allegedly hiring undocumented workers.

Now the U.S. Attorney’s Office is looking into whether Chipotle has violated Securities and Exchange Commission rules regarding how the company discloses information related to its process for verifying whether workers are legally documented.

The investigation was revealed by Chipotle in a filing with the SEC in which the company said the probe is targeting “possible criminal securities law violations relating to our employee work authorization verification compliance and related disclosures and statements.”

Chipotle said the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement arm is also looking into the matter.

The company said in the filing, “We intend to continue to fully cooperate in the government’s investigations.”

Chipotle’s shares dipped into negative territory after news of the investigation broke but closed for the day up $2.23, or 0.57%, at $395.56.

Last week Chipotle was told by the SEC that a formal investigation was underway into whether the company was verifying its employees’ immigration status. Chipotle said the SEC is seeking information related to whether the company is complying with employee work and authorization requirements and related disclosure regulations.

The SEC investigation follows a probe by federal immigration officials into allegations that Chipotle employed undocumented workers in Minnesota and several other markets. A 2010 investigation by immigration officials resulted in about 450 Chipotle employees losing their jobs in Minnesota.

Chipotle owns and operates more than 1,000 restaurants in the U.S. Its stock has been popular with investors, climbing about 40% in the past 12 months.