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Puzder tipped off to Democrats’ HELP Committee queries

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Andrew Puzder, President Trump’s nominee to become secretary of labor, got a preview of the tough questioning that he was to expect Feb. 16 during his scheduled confirmation hearings.

Queries came courtesy of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D–Mass., one of Puzder’s most vocal critics on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. On Feb. 13, Warren sent Puzder a 28-page letter demanding answers to 83 questions. Its purpose, Warren wrote: to “determine whether you are indeed qualified for this position.”

Since 2004, the Department of Labor has closed 108 wage-and-hour investigations of franchises affiliated with CKE Restaurants, the fast-food company Puzder heads. CKE is the parent company of the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s fast-food chains.

Among Warren’s questions:

  • Will you commit to continuing enforcement of DOL wage-and-hour and workplace safety standards?
  • Why do you believe that Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s restaurants have been hit with more federal employment discrimination lawsuits than any other major U.S. hamburger chain?

In the wake of a harsh but ultimately unsuccessful effort to scuttle the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Puzder seems now to be the Trump nominee most in the crosshairs of Warren and other Senate Democrats. However, like DeVos, Puzder is likely to win confirmation. If the HELP Committee endorses him, Puzder’s nomination will go before the full Senate.

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