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Second teen gets $1 million in Stars strip-club case

State found discrimination, sexual harassment

PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries final order issued Thursday wiill direct $1 million to a then 15-year old minor who faced unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment at Stars Cabaret strip club, where she was hired as a dancer.

A previous civil rights settlement of $1.25 million for the first victim, then a 13-year old minor, represented the largest individual settlement in the agency’s history.

The agency initiated the investigation after Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian filed a Commissioner’s Complaint in 2015 alleging civil rights violations involving two underage employees working as adult entertainers. Following a thorough investigation of Stars’ operations, the agency brought formal charges of unlawful discrimination and sexual harassment of minors working at the club.

The BOLI Final Order finds that former manager Jon Herkenrath and Stars’ owners Randy Kaiser, Todd Mitchell and Jeff Struhar aided and abetted the unlawful discrimination that occurred at the Beaverton club.

“Today’s order begins to address the trauma and harm faced by these underage minors,” said  Avakian. “Protecting the most vulnerable among us is at the core of our agency’s mission. I appreciate the relentless and diligent work of our civil rights and administrative prosecution teams in securing justice that reflects the severity of abuse.”

Oregon law empowers the labor commissioner to file a complaint on behalf of the people of Oregon when the commissioner has reason to believe that an unlawful practice, such as employment discrimination based on sex or national origin, has occurred. The Commissioner’s Complaint filed against Stars is the seventh filed by Avakian. A 2014 settlement with Daimler Trucks North America directed $2.4 million to six employees alleging harassment and unlawful discrimination.

The Civil Rights Division conducted an extensive investigation across Stars’ operations, interviewing current and former staff, owners, managers and other third parties.

Copies of the Final Order and civil rights complaints are available upon request.

Any worker who believes that they are being harassed or retaliated at work can start the civil rights complaint process by contact the Civil Rights Division at crdemail@boli.state.or.us or by calling 971-673-0764. BOLI’s live entertainment hotline at 1-844-304-2654 also can provide workers information about retaliation, sex discrimination, harassment, unlawful wage practices and a host of other workplace protections. Callers to the toll-free hotline may request confidentiality.

Visit www.oregon.gov/BOLI for more information about all of BOLI’s work to protect employment rights, advance employment opportunities, and protect access to housing and public accommodations free from discrimination.


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