Sexual Harassment Reported At Restaurants Run By Trump's Labor Pick

Sixty-six percent of the employees at Andrew Puzder's restaurants report “disturbing behavior and “unwanted contact.”

There couldn’t be anyone less qualified than Andrew Puzder to become secretary of labor, but apparently Donald Trump doesn’t care.

Puzder is the CEO of CKE Restaurants, which is the parent company of American fast food chains including Carl’s Jr., La Salsa and Hardee’s. He is also the man who recently defended his sexually charged advertising campaigns by claiming, “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American.”

Despite the fact that his sexist ads have been compared to pornography by some people, Puzder persisted in the strategy, stating, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”

With this kind of attitude, it’s no wonder a recent study by advocacy group, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, reveals the female workers employed by CKE experience disproportionate rates of harassment.

The percentage of sexual harassment in the food industry is already unacceptably high at 40 percent, according to a 2016 survey conducted by Hart Research Associates. But ROC found out that the condition is much worse at CKE, with 66 percent of employees reporting “disturbing” and unwanted behaviors.

“Customers have asked why I don’t dress like the women in the commercials,” one Tennessee-based Hardee’s employee told researchers.

“I continually get notes left on tables from customers, customers flirt or ask me out,” said a Carl’s Jr. employee in California. “I have also been followed outside the store by customers.”

The study also found that one-third of the 564 workers interviewed had experienced wage theft, including no overtime payment, no work breaks and performing many duties without sufficient compensation.

Thirty-two percent of workers in California said they were not given meal breaks after working for more than five hours while 79 percent of employees said they prepared food while sick.

Puzder is also a staunch opponent of increasing the federal minimum wage to $15 — but it’s not from lack of funds.  After all, he was able to donate hundreds of thousands of dollars to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

“I work almost every day and am still considered poor,” Lupe Guzman said, a CKE group worker said. “People like Andrew Puzder don’t see how regular Americans are living day to day.”

CKE Restaurants spokespeople were not available for comment but Trump’s spokeswoman Elizabeth Johnson emailed a statement about the “fake news paid for by unions and special interests opposed to Andy Puzder’s nomination.”

Laura McDonald, a former general manager at Carl’s Jr. who is one of the persons who have filed a class action lawsuit against the food chains, said there was no one “less qualified” to run the Department of Labor, whose core objective is to protect the rights of the working class.

“He never protected the employees at CKE when he was in charge so I don’t think he would be the person to protect American workers’ rights,” McDonald said.

Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters

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