Survey reports two-thirds of female workers at CKE Restaurants Inc. are sexually harassed at work

A recent Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United survey revealed that 66 percent of female employees of the fast food restaurants of CKE Restaurants Inc., reported experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace. CKE Restaurants’ CEO is Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee for the United States Secretary of the Department Of Labor, who withdrew his nomination in February 2017.

CKE Restaurant branches Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s have been known to portray sexually charged scenes in their advertisements, sometimes being compared to pornography. In defense of these advertisements, Puzder said, “I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it’s very American.” In 2011, he also added, “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”

ROC United, a nonprofit that advocates for restaurant workers’ rights, found that many of the women who reported having been sexually harassed by customers said many of their harassers referenced the sexually charged advertisements. Sexual harassment appears to be an industry-wide problem. Forty percent of women working in restaurants in the fast food industry have reported experiencing incidents of sexual harassment.

In the ROC survey, 66 percent of women working at CKE Restaurants reported incidents of sexual harassment in the workplace by customers, coworkers, or supervisors — a significantly higher rate than the industry average.

The national survey conducted through social media channels asked 45 self-reported questions on wages and working conditions at CKE Restaurants Inc. Of the total 20,000 employees of CKE, 891 were reached, and 564 responded to the survey. The survey results are in line with CKE’s public record of settling several class action lawsuits involving wage and working conditions, and at least one sexual harassment suit.

The survey found that of the 564 workers who participated, over two-thirds experienced some form of wage theft, inadequate rest breaks and inadequate compensation for working multiple roles.

According to The Guardian, CKE did not respond to their request for comment regarding the ROC United’s findings. However, Elizabeth Johnson, a spokeswoman for President Trump’s transition team said the report was “fake news” that was “paid for by unions and special interests opposed to Andy Puzder’s nomination” in an unprompted emailed statement to The Guardian.