Ore. BOLI seeks former Typhoon! workers

Working to make them aware of settlement

POSTED: 12:14 PM PDT October 15, 2012 

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries said Monday it is reaching out to the local Thai community to maximize the reach of information for former employees of Typhoon!, Inc., recruited from Thailand. 

As part of BOLI’s settlement with the now-defunct restaurant chain, a $100,000 settlement fund will remain open into 2013 to allow claims from workers harmed by Typhoon’s employment practices. 

Information about filing a claim will be shared directly with affected workers and disseminated broadly in the community.

“We’re going to do all that we can to get this information into the hands of former Typhoon employees,” said State Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, chief of BOLI and the official who originally launched the probe of employment conditions at Typhoon.  “With some creative outreach on our part, we’re hopeful that as many workers as possible will be able to benefit from the settlement fund.”

BOLI staffers have generated claim forms and informational notices in English as well as Thai, all of which are available on BOLI’s website

In addition to contacting known former employees directly, staffers from BOLI are reaching out to community resources where local Thais may turn seeking information, such as Buddhist temples and the Thai Consulate. 

Word of mouth within the Thai community is expected to be a key factor in the successful outreach strategy.

“The employment agreements that Typhoon got their workers to sign did not encourage them to learn about their rights,” Avakian added.  “Connecting former employees with the proceeds of this settlement fund is critical to compensating them for the pay and working condition disparities that they faced.”