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Patti Smith Loves Coffee, and I Love Patti Smith

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Thursday, September 9, 2010

Portland's Typhoon Restaurant Charged With Unfair Labor Conditions

Posted on Thu, Sep 9, 2010 at 2:18 PM

Popular Thai restaurant chain Typhoon has had a state civil rights complaint filed against it for unfair labor conditions. The complaint, initiated by Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian, states that workers who were recruited to come over from Thailand were:

• Not paid proper wages

• Not allowed raises

• Required to work longer hours than U.S. employees

• Not given the same vacation time as U.S. employees

Even worse, apparently when Thai workers complained, they were threatened with job termination, deportation back to Thailand, and even legal action against them.

Sorry, but if true, that sounds to me a little like the beginnings of slave labor—immigrants being brought over to work for a pittance of the wages they should get, and then threatened when they object. Remember Portland is Number 2 in the country for human trafficking?

This is not the first time Typhoon has faced this kind of complaint. Employees have sued before in federal courts for violation of labor laws. Typhoon paid to settle these cases, but never admitted it was wrong. In 2003, two former Thai cooks filed suits that were settled out of court. And the owners have had to pay $170,000 in back wages after another state complaint.

Check out the Portland Tribune's story on the whole affair here.

Rick Anderson, Typhoon's chief operating officer, today said that the accusations were "absurd" and "outrageous" and that Typhoon plans to fight all civil rights action.


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