When Andrew Puzder faces Senate hearings next week on his nomination as labor secretary, much of the questioning will focus on his management of CKE Restaurants, the Carpinteria-based franchiser of the national Hardee’s, Carl’s Jr., Green Burrito and Red Burrito fast-food chains.
Both Puzder and CKE have been under unflattering scrutiny since December, when Donald Trump announced the nomination, citing the fast-food executive’s “extensive record fighting for workers” — a claim disputed by critics of Puzder’s nomination who point to the fact that only last month workers at restaurants owned by CKE filed 33 complaints against the company, including 22 wage and hour violations, seven unfair labor practices charges and four allegations of sexual harassment.
“CKE is a textbook case of how franchising can enable some businesses to evade responsibility for labor violations committed in establishments that bear their name, sell their products and adhere to their rules,” said Alison Morantz, Stanford Law School’s James and Nancy Kelso Professor of Law. “Although such abuses are widespread, they can be substantially reduced with legal and regulatory tools that already exist, and have been used successfully in the past.”
“If,” Morantz continued, “the new administration turns a blind eye to abusive labor practices — or tries to strip federal inspectors of the tools it has available to enforce wage and hour laws — it will encourage franchisors like CKE to deprive hardworking Americans of the basic legal protections that ensure everyday accountability, justice and fair play in the labor market.”Read More