Carl’s Jr. Fined for Not Paying Minimum Wage When Led by Former CEO Who Opposed Minimum Wage Hike

The City of Los Angeles slapped the West coast chain of burger joints, Carl’s Jr., earlier this week with $1.45 million in restitution and penalties for failing to pay all of its employees a minimum wage.

The fast-food company did not pay 37 of its workers at “multiple Los Angeles locations” the minimum wage of $10.50 per hour from July 1, 2016, to Dec. 31, 2016, according to a June 26 statement from Los Angeles Attorney Mike Feuer and the city’s Office of Wage Standards. The OWS estimated that the company owes $910,010 in penalties for failing to pay these workers.

In addition, the OWS hit Carl’s Jr. with $541,423 in penalties and fines for allegedly failing to post notice of the current minimum wage rate, sick time benefits and employee rights required under the City’s Minimum Wage Ordinance, at two locations.

Carl’s Jr. is owned by CKE Restaurants Holdings Inc., which is also the parent company of Hardee’s. CKE was run by CEO Andrew Puzder from 2000 until his resignation in April. On several occasions, Puzder has come out in opposition of the Affordable Care Act and of raising the minimum wage.

CKE CEO Andrew Puzder.
CKE CEO Andrew Puzder.

In a statement sent to TheStreet, CKE acknowledged that it “made an inadvertent payroll error” that left some of its workers compensated below the minimum wage. However, the company said “all employees were swiftly made whole.”

CKE also said the compensation for the affected employees totaled $5,400, and claimed $1.45 million would be “268 times the total of wages that were paid to our employees.”

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