Honoree: Ashley Coleman
Assistant General Counsel, Litigation & Employment
Chipotle Mexican Grill
Chapman University, Fowler School of Law
Ashley Coleman currently serves as assistant general counsel of litigation and employment at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., overseeing labor and employment compliance and litigation matters for nearly 100,000 employees. Since April 2019, she has managed Chipotle’s litigation, labor and employment compliance, governmental audits, agency charges, and claims management, among other duties.
Coleman has successfully managed her responsibilities despite Chipotle’s substantial employee growth, pandemic-related staffing and safety challenges, and the enormous task of moving all employment-related legal tasks in-house. She has gained the trust of everyone she works with including Chipotle’s executive leadership team, its people experience department, and its operations leaders in the field.
Coleman’s notable successes include: 1) moving labor and employment compliance and litigation management in-house at Chipotle, 2) leading the resolution of a sizeable docket of complex, high-exposure class action litigation, 3) spearheading initiatives to improve Chipotle’s legal support and partnership with human resources for its local management teams, and 4) partnering with internal clients to implement industry-leading sick leave and other benefits throughout the pandemic.
She is also an advocate for her internal client and leads the charge to do more for Chipotle’s employees than the legal minimum. Her work on the Chipotle COVID-19 Task Force Team is substantive, having participated in leading efforts to grant assistance pay to eligible restaurant employees, providing unemployment benefits advice and assistance, and creating and implementing a paid leave program for employees impacted by COVID-19 that went above and beyond any legal requirements. Additionally, Coleman championed Chipotle’s Pledge to Drive Change, a company initiative to support the Black community, create a more equal society, and further Chipotle’s goals of diversity, equity and inclusion.
At just 39 years old, Coleman has emerged as a transformational leader who has driven institutional change and compliance through team building and improved collaboration between legal, human resources, operations, and other functions.