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The provision requiring employers to offer workers additional shifts before hiring new workers was intended to make it easier for workers to earn enough income to sustain themselves.

Employers in fast-food and retail operations often hire more workers at fewer hours to add scheduling flexibility, said Saravanan Kesavan, an expert in retail operations at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Kesavan has conducted research showing that financial performance can actually improve when employers provide more stable and predictable schedules.

The complaint also accuses the company of violating the city’s paid sick leave law, which was enacted in 2014 and mandated up to 40 hours of paid leave per year. (The ceiling grew to 56 hours beginning this January for larger employers.) The city contends that Chipotle illegally denied requests for time off, required workers to find their own replacements or did not pay workers for time they took.

According to the complaint, all of the estimated 6,500 Chipotle employees in New York City from November 2017 to September 2019 were affected by violations involving scheduling and sick leave, and on average they experienced more than three scheduling violations a week.

Teodora Flores, who works at a Chipotle at the Empire State Building, said through an interpreter that she typically received her schedule at least two weeks in advance and had not been asked to work clopenings, but that she had struggled to receive enough hours to support herself.

Ms. Flores, 52, said that she often worked 40 hours a week when she started at the store in February 2018, but that her hours gradually fell after a new manager took over several months later. She said she worked about 21 hours a week for much of last year, and that the store was hiring new workers for a few months during this time.

Ms. Flores said her hours had gradually increased since then, but only after she complained repeatedly to store managers and area managers. She said that a manager also asked her to find a replacement when she recently tried to take a sick day, but that she refused.