First it was Shelley Luther, in Dallas, Texas. Now Lindsey Graham (no, not *that* Lindsey Graham), a salon owner in Salem, Oregon, is being targeted by state officials for having the audacity to open her business.
Despite being threatened with upwards of $70,000 in fines, she opened up on May 5th, in defiance of governor Kate Brown’s lockdown orders, while dozens rallied in support along the sidewalk.
Then the state started follow through with their threats. She has been fined $14,000 by OSHA, claiming she is putting her employees at risk. Except she doesn’t have any employees. Like many other salons, she rents out chairs to other stylists. They threatening more fines if she doesn’t close down again.
State child welfare authorities have even threatened to take her children away. Since the city of Salem owns the building she leases, they’ve also threatened to terminate her lease:
Oregon Occupational Safety and Health issued a $14,000 fine to Lindsey Graham, owner of Glamor Salon in Salem, for reopening her salon May 5 in defiance of Gov. Kate Brown’s stay-home order.
Aaron Corvin, a spokesman for Oregon OSHA, confirmed the $14,000 fine to WW. The agency says Graham is endangering her workers.
“She is unquestionably operating in violation of the governor’s executive order, designed to protect workers and the public,” Corvin told WW. “The penalty reflects both the nature of the violation and the employer’s willful decision to violate the law.”
“I’m being threatened and intimidated and bullied daily by the government,” Graham said during a press conference Friday. “I’m sad that I can drive 20 minutes down the freeway, and that person’s job as a hairstylist is essential, according to Kate Brown. But my job, 20 minutes up the street, is nonessential.”
Graham said during Friday’s press conference that OSHA “illegally deemed” the Glamour Salon hairdressers as employees rather than independent contractors (OSHA does not have jurisdiction over the latter).
“Not everyone whose employer refers to them as an independent contractor actually falls outside our jurisdiction,” Corvin said. “Based on the findings of our inspection, at least some of those working at the salon qualify as employees under the Oregon Safe Employment Act, and we have acted accordingly.”
“I don’t want anyone to get sick. I know you guys don’t want anyone to get sick,” Graham said. “But I also don’t want to go bankrupt and lose everything I worked for and neither do you.”
Graham said Friday the salon opened May 5 so that she and the other 23 hairdressers who work in her salon could earn a living for their families.
She also claimed that Child Protective Services had visited her house and questioned her child. “I’ve never expected such a violent, aggressive, vindictive thing could ever be done to me or my family,” she said, “because I’m trying to earn a living, because I’m trying to work.”
Department of Human Services spokesman Jake Sutherland said the agency is unable to comment on whether the visit occurred, due to confidentiality laws.
“I want to stress, however, that not following Gov. Brown’s Stay Home, Save Lives executive order or not following physical distancing guidelines would never be a reason to assign a CPS assessment,” Sutherland said.
Graham said that OSHA told her she will have three days to close down her salon after receiving the $14,000 fine, and that if she does not comply, she will receive another citation.
Salem News Journal was on the scene for the press conference Graham had on May 15th:
She has a Go Fund Me to help cover these costs.