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Investigating Labor Secretary Nominee Andrew Puzder’s Fast Food Empire

Puzder Graph

With Andrew Puzder’s Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination for U.S. Secretary of Labor scheduled for February 16, Capital & Main continues its investigations into the corporation he has led since 2000. Our stories show that CKE Restaurants, Inc., the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s  fast-food chains, has been the target of an unusually high number of employee lawsuits, including complaints alleging racial and age discrimination, and sexual harassment. We present our findings in these stories:

Robin Urevich unearths a 2004 lawsuit filed by a former CKE vice president who described a corporate culture that encouraged male executives to demean and sexually harass her and other women.

A Summary of Charges against Puzder made by his present and former employees.

An Anthology of Quotes from interviews with CKE managers, past and present, who say Puzder is unfit to serve as labor secretary.

Robin Urevich speaks to company managers who describe Puzder as an aloof and disdainful CEO. (Co-published by Fast Company.)

Dean Kuipers finds that many low-wage workers at CKE restaurants are paid with debit cards instead of paper checks — and can quickly rack up a host of user fees. (Co-published by International Business Times.)

Robin Urevich reports on federal racial discrimination and sexual harassment claims filed against CKE and its franchisees, which, she writes, “read like stories from the 1940s or ’50s, before civil rights laws were ever enacted.” (Co-published by International Business Times.)

Dean Kuipers examines a trail of accusations, filed in court, in which veteran CKE managers alleged they were fired for no other reason than that their age or health had made them too inconvenient for the company to continue to employ. (Co-published by Newsweek.)

Bill Raden looks at the agreements that CKE imposes on its franchisees. (Co-published by American Prospect.)

Danny Feingold explains the numbers behind CKE’s position as the leading hamburger chain in discrimination lawsuits.

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