In Focus: Opponents of Andrew Puzder’s Nomination As Labor Secretary Highlight Controversies

By Allen Smith, J.D. Jan 12, 2017
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​Secretary of Labor nominee Andrew Puzder (Photo by Gage Skidmore)

Senate Democrats and fast-food employees claim CKE Restaurants CEO Andrew Puzder is not qualified to serve as the next secretary of the Department of Labor, even as his confirmation hearing has been rescheduled.

Democrats Attack Puzder's Treatment of Workers

Citing a recent report from a restaurant worker organization, Sens. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., held a press conference Jan. 10 criticizing Puzder for alleged violations of wage and hour, safety, and equal employment opportunity laws at Carl's Jr. and Hardee's restaurants—both owned by CKE. (CNN)

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Complying with U.S. Wage and Hour Laws and Wage Payment Laws]

Puzder's Qualifications for Secretary of Labor Challenged

Murray's and Warren's concerns echoed the points they made in a letter to Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions on Jan. 5. But some industry experts say CKE's violations under Puzder's leadership have been minimal compared to those of the company's competitors. (SHRM Online)

Ex-Wife Brought Abuse Claims

Complicating Puzder's nomination further, his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, once accused him on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" of physically assaulting her and made similar allegations in court filings. However, she has retracted the allegations in recent weeks. (Politico)

Puzder Hearing Might Be Delayed

Originally rumored to be set for Jan. 12, then pushed back to Jan. 17, the confirmation hearing for Puzder may be delayed until February. (Politico)

Controversial Policy Positions Known at Time of Appointment

Puzder's nomination has been controversial from the outset, partly because of his opposition to a sharp increase in minimum wage, support for automation of some jobs, criticism of the overtime rule, support of deregulation and opposition to the Affordable Care Act. (SHRM Online)


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