An Oregon woman had an unexpected visit from authorities after she reopened her small business despite the deadly Asian pandemic.
Lindsey Graham has accused the Oregon Department of Human Services (DHS) of searching for excuses to separate her children from her.
The mother, who owns Glamour Salon in downtown Salem, said DHS questioned her nanny on May 7 about the conditions Graham’s children lived in.
“I got a phone call from my nanny that as soon as I went to work, a DHS officer came to my home and tried to speak to her, and she said, ‘I do not feel comfortable answering any questions for you. I think you need to call the homeowner,’” she told Breitbart’s “News Sunday” radio program. “DHS basically stopped by my house and said that they had some claims against me and my family about our home being unfit.”
Four days later a state Child Protective Services officer visited her home to interview her son in private without allowing a parent or guardian to attend.
“He interviewed my 6-year-old son in a separate room and he searched our home,” she said. “He made me lift up toilet seats and open our fridge. None of this is warranted, these are all bogus claims, our home is completely safe and always has been, so this is definitely some kind of vendetta, sending a government agency after my family.”
The incident happened after Graham defied the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus lockdown to provide for her family.
“I decided on May 2 that I was done being closed down, I was done being out of an income for my family, and I was done being locked in my house,” she said. “I announced on May 2 that I would be opening my salon in Salem on May 5.”
However, her decision to reopen the salon on Liberty Street North East attracted the attention of Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its employees threatened to issue heavy fines if Graham continued to keep her door open.
“On May 4, before I could even open, I was down at the salon cleaning and getting it ready to go, and OSHA stopped by and they wanted to have a friendly conversation with me on what would happen if I opened,” she said. “They alluded to the fact that they would issue me a $1,000 citation if I were to open my doors and I needed to close them, and if I continue to open my doors the next fine will be $70,000.”
The threats did not faze the entrepreneur and she was quickly overwhelmed by support from her customers and the broader community.
“I opened them anyway on May 5, and I had an outpouring of support on the sidewalk and on social media,” she said. “[There was] no sign of OSHA for a couple of days and, everyday since I opened, I have been harassed by the government from some form of entity.”
OSHA has since settled its dispute with Graham who received a $14,000 fine for exposing workers to a “hazardous and dangerous workplace.” However, she claims the penalty is invalid because she has no direct employees.
“I do not have employees in my salon right now,” she said. “I have independent contractors that are choosing to work and they are choosing to do their clients, do hair so they can provide for their families and their children. DHS illegally deemed them employees so the whole citation is out of their jurisdiction. They should never be able to investigate me but they did anyway.”
She believes the fine sends a worrying message to business owners who want to provide for their families.
“Basically you have three days to close your business or we will issue you another citation,” she said. “By revoking our licenses, they [are] saying, ‘If you continue to do hair, we will take your entire livelihood from you for the rest of your life.”