Chipotle’s reputation as one of the best fast-food restaurants to work for has taken a hit as of late. Sure, the job comes with some nice benefits like tuition reimbursement, but is it worth the risk of having a burrito bowl thrown at you? Maybe, if you can order whatever your burrito-loving heart desires for your free shift meal. Unfortunately, that might not be the queso (sorry).

Why did Chipotle ask workers not to order chicken? 

Last week, Chipotle’s Chief Restaurant Officer reportedly asked employees to “select non-chicken options” for their shift meals in order to preserve the supply of chicken for customers.That means workers can’t order the chain's wildly popular chicken al pastor or even the (less glamorous, but still popular) classic chicken. Unsurprisingly, many employees had some beef with this policy.

Chipotle claims the chicken ban was simply a request, not a mandate. But let’s be real, it sounds more like a threat. You know, it would be a real shame if something happened to you after eating that chicken…I’m joking. Kind of. Plus, let’s talk about the power dynamics here. If your boss asks you to please not order the chicken, you’re probably not going to feel comfortable ordering the chicken, at least not if you value your job.

What happened to workers who ordered chicken? 

Some brave chicken-ordering employees claim they were threatened with discipline, and workers at the only unionized Chipotle in the U.S. told Bloomberg that some managers even threw out their employees’ chicken meals. Creating food waste and a hostile workplace environment, all at once? Truly shameful.

To be fair, Chipotle’s short-lived chicken restriction also applied to corporate office staff, who were reportedly not allowed to order chicken at their free Monday lunch. Big sad. Still, as Chipotle quickly realized, this policy was not a good look.

Why did Chipotle reverse its chicken ban?

After a wave of PR backlash, Chief Operating Officer Scott Boatwright sent a message on Thursday announcing that “employees…can now once again order Chicken and/or Chicken Al Pastor.” Of course, they always could, because it was just a request, right?

My go-to Chipotle order is a bowl with chicken, white rice, black beans, cheese, and every kind of salsa. More than once, I’ve left a Chipotle after discovering they were out of chicken.

I think we can all understand the value of a go-to Chipotle order, especially when it's one of the few things you have to look forward to while working. The idea that employees could “maybe try something else on our menu,” as CEO Brian Niccol told Bloomberg, is simply ridiculous. My heart goes out to every Chipotle employee who was coerced into forgoing their fave protein.

Chipotle’s short-lived chicken ban should be a lesson to corporations everywhere: don’t mess with our shift meals. Or as one Reddit user on r/Chipotle put it “I COOK THE CHICKEN. I WILL EAT THE CHICKEN!”