Trump's pick for labor secretary runs a fast-food chain where 2 in 3 women report being sexually harassed on the job

Sixty-six percent of women working at Hardee's or Carl's Jr. have encountered unwanted sexual behavior on the job, according to a new report that has been released following Donald Trump's nomination of the chains' CEO Andy Puzder to Secretary of Labor.

Women working at CKE Restaurants were 50% more likely than the average fast-food worker to encounter sexual harassment at work, according to a report released Tuesday from workers' rights nonprofit Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United.

Sexual harassment is a common problem in the restaurant industry, with roughly 40% of female fast-food workers facing harassment such as sexual teasing, unwanted touching, and invasive questions on the job, according to a survey by Hart Research.

ROC's report was collected through 564 surveys completed by Carl's Jr. and Hardee's members who the nonprofit reached out to via social media.

In addition to sexual harassment, the report found that 28% of respondents said they had worked off-the-clock and roughly 33% reported wage theft violations, such as not receiving or overtime pay — figures that actual beat fast-food industry averages.

The Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit managed by the International Franchise Association (IFA), called the report's conclusions into question. On Tuesday, the EPI released the results of its own survey, in which 93% of female CKE employees reported tha they "feel safe and respected in this working environment."

The EPI's data was collected via 242 telephone interviews with Carl's Jr. and Hardee's employees in early January.

ROC argues that the reports provides evidence that Puzder, as CEO of CKE, is unfit to serve as the Secretary of Labor.

"The job of the Secretary of Labor is to protect our nation's most vulnerable workers, including tipped workers," Saru Jayaraman, ROC United co-founder and co-director, said in a statement. "Like the NRA, Puzder's stated positions include total opposition to raising the minimum wage and earned sick time, and threats to replace restaurant workers with machines. Quite simply, Puzder is the last person that should fill this role."

Democrats plan to use the ROC report to highlight potential issues with Puzder's confirmation as Secretary of Labor, with members of Congress, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren, hosting a forum on Tuesday to discuss the results of the report. Warren and other members of Congress have called for Puzder's employees to be allowed to speak at Puzder's confirmation hearing.

Many progressives spoke out against Puzder's nomination following its announcement in early December. While restaurant industry groups such as the IFA have supported Puzder, critics have taken issue with Puzder's history of opposition to regulation that would increase overtime pay and raise the minimum wage, his interest in investing in automation, and support of sexualized marketing.

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's have come under fire for its sexual advertising in the past, with commercials starring scantily-clad women drawing protest from the conservative group One Million Moms and feminist website Jezebel. Puzder has long welcomed the protest.

"I like our ads. I like beautiful women eating burgers in bikinis. I think it's very American," Puzder told Entrepreneur in 2015.

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Meet the insiders cashing in on Trump presidency

John Paulson
The hedge fund billionaire is a Trump advisor and donor. He famously scored by betting against the U.S. housing market in 2007, but was having a really bad year until Trump’s nominee for Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, said on Nov. 30 that mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should not be controlled by the government. That sent their shares up 46 percent. The leap trimmed losses for the year at Paulson & Co.’s Advantage Fund to 9 percent from 16 percent, according to Bloomberg. Paulson and Mnuchin were both investors in the purchase, turnaround and sale of IndyMac bank, now OneWest (then again, so was Democratic mega-donor George Soros).

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Carl Icahn
The so-called corporate activist, a Trump campaign confidante and now the president-elect’s special adviser on regulatory reform, may also have made a killing on the run-up of Fannie and Freddie. In 2014, he took a $50 million position in the two through Fairholme Funds, one of the largest holders of preferred shares in the government-sponsored entities (GSEs). The market also apparently sees value in the 80-year-old Icahn’s ties to Trump: Shares of his Icahn Enterprises LP are up nearly 30 percent since Election Day and 7 percent since his appointment as special adviser was announced. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo

Goldman Sachs Execs
Among the Goldman Sachs execs and alums appointed or nominated by Trump are the firm’s president and COO, Gary Cohn, who will lead the powerful National Economic Council and is seen as an emerging force on Team Trump; Mnuchin, the Treasury Secretary nominee; and senior White House strategist Steve Bannon. Goldman stock is up more than 30 percent since Election Day, and that could bolster the value of Cohn exit package substantially. Bloomberg valued it at more than $266 million, amassed over 25 years, on Dec. 9.

REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File Photo 

Corey Lewandowski
The hard-nosed political operative who guided the Trump campaign in its early days is opening a lobbying shop down the street from the White House, the Washington Examiner first reported on Dec. 21. The exclusive by David Drucker said Lewandowski and partner Barry Bennett, who also advised Trump, use their biographies to “emphasize their closeness to Trump and, presumably, their ability to get clients’ priorities in front of the president.” (Photo credit should read RYAN MCBRIDE/AFP/Getty Images)

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