Fighting Wage Suppression in the Fast Food Industry: Bautista et al v. Carl Karcher Enterprises LLC

Towards Justice combats anticompetitive practices that undermine worker power. In 2017, Towards Justice filed a lawsuit in California on behalf of current and former employees of Carl’s Jr. restaurants alleging that Carl’s Jr. and its franchisor CKE engaged in a conspiracy to suppress the wages and working conditions of the restaurant-based managers who run hundreds of Carl’s Jr. restaurants across the state by agreeing with each other not to hire each other’s workers. They did this even though CKE insisted that it didn’t employ people who worked for franchisees, and instead that franchisees were independent businesses. Our case drew public attention to this issue and helped to initiate public and private enforcement actions around the country. Towards Justice represented the plaintiffs with co-counsel Cuneo Gilbert & LaDuca, LLP and Tostrud Law Group PC.

Case Documents


Response to Motion to Dismiss

Press Release

2/8/2017 Fast Food Workers Allege the Market is Rigged: “No Hire” Agreements Undermine Wages and Wokring Conditions at Carl’s Jr., a CKE Franchise


2/28/2018 Corporate America Is Suppressing Wages for Many Workers

3/22/2017 Lawsuit: Carl’s Jr. Blocked Managers From Accepting Jobs With Other Franchisees

2/10/2017 Labor Secretary Nominee’s Company Hit With Antitrust Class Action 

2/9/2017 Carl’s Jr. Shift Leader Say CKE Restaurants Suppresses Wages

2/9/2017 Employees file antitrust class action against Puzder’s CKE Restaurants

2/8/2017 Suit against Carl’s Jr. parent company alleges unfair business practice to suppress wages

2/8/2017 CKE Restaurants Hit With Antitrust Class Action

In The Courtroom

Our litigators help workers advance legal claims that address systemic injustice. We use antitrust, anti-slavery, fraud, wage-and-hour, and common-law challenges to address the wide variety of practices that nickel-and-dime low-wage workers out of their hard-earned wages. We have represented a hundred thousand childcare workers alleging wage suppression, tens of thousands of immigrant detainees alleging forced labor, and hundreds of construction workers, shepherds, manicurists, janitors, and kitchen hood cleaners. We are leaders in challenging anti-competitive practices that reduce worker bargaining power and support marginalized people who challenge structural impediments to their advancement.

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