The Guardian • Oliver Laughland
Two-thirds of female fast food workers at restaurants operated by Andrew Puzder, Donald Trump’s controversial nomination for US labor secretary, experienced sexual harassment at work, a rate much higher than the industry average, a stinging advocacy survey has claimed.
Many female workers, according to the research conducted by Restaurant Opportunities Center (Roc) United, have been harassed by customers referencing the highly sexualised advertising campaigns Puzder has championed as CEO of CKE Restaurants, the parent company of chains including Carl’s Jr and Hardee’s.
“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 another Carl’s Jr employee in California. “I have also been followed outside the store by customers.”
Puzder, CEO of the billion-dollar company since 2000, has staunchly defended his company’s notorious advertising that often features scantily dressed women eating burgers in scenes some have compared to pornography, arguing in 2011: “We believe in putting hot models in our commercials, because ugly ones don’t sell burgers.”