Chipotle has had some tough times. Most recently, Leah Caldwell, a customer sued the company for using a photograph of her eating at a restaurant in 2006 in its promotional materials. Moreover, an alcoholic beverage was photoshopped next to Ms. Caldwell's food. She was not aware of the photograph until 2014. Since then, she has seen the image in multiple markets. Ms. Caldwell is seeking $2,237,633,000, which is the amount of money she claims Chipotle made since the use of the photograph.
Employers often use photographs in promotional materials that include employees. Employees may be aware that the photos will be used for marketing, and typically don't object. However, not every relationship lasts and employees, like customers, can file lawsuits for unauthorized use of their image.
The easy fix is to have an employee whose image may be used in promotional materials sign a Model Release. Avoid the lawsuit! Contact us if you need such an agreement.