Glamour Salon in Salem, OR will be fined $14,000 after reopening against Gov. Kate Brown’s executive orders.
The Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division, known as OSHA, is fining salon owner and stylist Lindsey Graham specifically, requiring that she and her independently contracted stylists close until approved to reopen.
Once she receives the notice, which was expected this week, Graham will have three days to close doors. If not, she will be fined again.
“(Graham) is unquestionably operating in violation of the governor’s executive order, designed to protect workers and the public,” Aaron Corvin with OSHA told the Statesman Journal.
“Our jurisdiction is indeed limited to exposure of employees,” he said, “but as many employers in industries such as construction have learned, not everyone whose employer refers to them as an independent contractor actually falls outside our jurisdiction.”
Corvin said at least some of those working at the salon qualify as employees under the Oregon Safe Employment Act, based on the findings of OSHA’s inspection, and they have “acted accordingly.”
He said the penalty reflects both the nature of the violation and the employer’s willful decision to violate the law.
The salon, at 195 Liberty St. SE in downtown Salem, reopened May 5 in defiance of Brown’s order that such businesses must remain closed to avoid making the COVID-19 pandemic worse.
About 40 protesters waiving signs and American flags — including Joey Gibson, a nationally known far-right activist and founder of Patriot Prayer — rallied at the salon that Tuesday, and in days following, to show their support for Graham.
Graham argues it’s her right to work so she can provide for her family.
She and her husband own six businesses, all of which have been closed because of the virus. They are under the same parent company, Glamour! LLC. Graham could not confirm the company’s total annual revenue when asked Friday.
Two GoFundMe accounts were created for Graham to help pay any fines or attorney fees expected for reopening early.
Graham is the only stylists who has received a fine so far. Neither the three other stylists who came back to work, nor their patrons, have received any. There are currently no threats of jail time.
Contact from child services, licensing
Graham told members of the media at a press conference outside the salon Friday, along with about a dozen supporters who attended and asked questions, that none of the 23 people who work at the salon have received unemployment checks.
Additionally, the $30,000 in federal relief funds Graham’s LLC has received cannot be used for payroll, she said. Graham has no official employees since the stylists are independent contractors.
She said the money will pay for about a month of overhead at only a few of their locations.
A day after reopening, the city of Salem — which owns the building that houses Glamour Salon downtown — issued a letter to Graham stating she is in violation of her lease agreement by breaking state orders. The city is not charging rent for this property through June 20.
The day after that, May 7, Graham said Oregon Child Protective Services showed up at her house and interviewed her son without allowing Graham or her husband in the room.
Health agencies have also contacted Graham to tell her she is at risk of having her licenses revoked.
Graham said she’s been closed for six weeks, though she announced in March she planned to reopen in early May.
“Every job is essential,” she said, “… because it’s how we make a living.”
Stylists in unique position
Sarah Washburn, a former stylist at Glamour Salon, stopped working at the salon in large part because her boyfriend is a Type 1 diabetic and she wanted to limit possible exposure to him and her son.
She shared her concerns about Graham reopening on Facebook because she “didn’t want (her) clients to think (she) is OK with it.”
“I feel bad for Lindsey,” Washburn said, “but the way she’s doing it isn’t appropriate.”
Washburn said Graham told the stylists she would not be liable for them if they started working again — concerning health, fines or legal help. Because stylists are essentially small businesses under a small business, they make the choices individually.
“What I really wish was out there is how much hair stylists are hurting,” Washburn said. “I’ve signed up for unemployment, grants, everything and been denied for weeks.
“What you’re seeing is people being desperate.”
Reopening delay frustrates businesses
Earlier this week, Brown denied reopening applications from Marion and Polk counties due to increased hospitalizations.
Some counties had pending applications and some chose not to apply, but Marion and Polk were the only two that originally applied and were denied.
County officials plan to apply again and reopen soon. But Graham said she doesn’t have a set date to plan around, so she will move forward herself.
Meanwhile, several businesses across the state are suing Brown and Oregon’s Public Health Director Lillian Shirley, arguing the shut-down orders violated the business owners’ constitutional rights.
Officials from Brown’s office have previously called the premature opening of businesses “irresponsible,” adding “these business owners are putting the public at risk.”
“A public health crisis should never be used as a marketing opportunity,” governor staff members wrote in a statement shared with the Statesman Journal.
“As a state, and as a community, we have a shared responsibility to protect our friends, neighbors, and loved ones from COVID-19.”
Graham said she feels persecuted and targeted by Brown herself.
She argues consenting adults should be allowed to choose to go to the salon and that the workers know how to operate safely, adding, “I don’t want anyone to get sick.”
If Graham’s license is revoked, she said she would fight it and sue. Her attorneys are challenging the OSHA fines now.
“I’m almost broken, I’m almost closing, which is terrifying,” Graham said. “I would love to see Kate Brown be as brave as me.”
For more information regarding state orders and fines, go to oregon.gov/gov/admin/pages/executive-orders.aspx or osha.oregon.gov.
Reporter Natalie Pate
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