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By Evan Henerson

The deeper “Capital & Main” digs, the worse it looks for Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder.

In the second article of the publication’s investigative series, “Capital & Main’s” Dean Kuipers asks “Did Company led by …Puzder Purge Longtime Managers?” And, through some rather exhaustive research of interviews and court document, he concludes “Yes.”

The story kicks off with a 34 year employee and former district manager who oversaw as many as nine Orange County stores. Blanca “Letty” Carbajal won a slew of employment awards including an expensive watch, two diamond rings and lucrative bonuses. She earned around $100,000 annually. Then, after she turned 51, she was told her job was no longer available. She was replaced by a younger man.

“Her firing may have more to do with Puzder, “ Kuipers writes. “A Capital & Main investigation has discovered a dozen wrongful termination suits filed by former California managers against Carl Karcher Enterprises (CKE) since 2014, most in Southern California and many very similar in their claims of age and sex discrimination, or of being the result of retaliation for legal medical leave or for reporting safety violations.

The pattern suggests that Puzder, who for over 16 years has publicly denounced labor regulations in the fast-food industry, and whose supervisory staff in Southern California has, according to court documents, talked openly about replacing older staff with younger blood, may have targeted longtime managerial employees like Carbajal.”

The article goes on to recount chapter and verse examples of other firings and also quotes attorneys and law professors.  After Puzder was named as Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, the Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, which seeks better working conditions in restaurants, sent surveys to CKE employees, and collected replies from 564 people over a two-week period, 76 percent of them from women.

Early survey results are not flattering. 66 percent of the female respondents said they had experienced sexual harassment at work; one third reported wage theft, reports of understaffing and subsequent poor working conditions were rampant.

Here’s hoping the Senate Committee on Health, Education Labor and Pensions is paying attention.

Read the entire article here. Check back tomorrow for more.

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