John Minnis cited for sexual harrassment, faces $2 million judgment

Kari Chisholm FacebookTwitterWebsite

John Minnis cited for sexual harrassment, faces $2 million judgment

John Minnis - the former Republican state senator (and spouse of GOP House Speaker Karen Minnis) - now faces formal charges of sexual harrassment and disability discrimination, reports the Oregonian.

If the charges hold up, he could be required to pay as much as $2 million to the victim of his allegedly unwanted advances. From the O:

The document accused Minnis of subjecting a female employee to sexual advances that began in October 2008 during a work-related trip to Bend and ended in November 2009, when the two attended a professional conference in San Diego. She says he frequently touched her and made inappropriate comments, including telling her his goal was to be "the best lover."

Oregon labor officials also say Minnis violated disability protections when he plied the employee with vodka to weaken her resistance even though Minnis knew she was an alcoholic and had alcohol-related blackouts. The woman told state officials that she passed out on more than one occasion with Minnis, and later woke up in bed wearing only her underpants and not remembering what had happened.

To add insult to injury, the print edition of the Oregonian contained an unintentional (?) bit of extreme irony in the caption (reproduced above). Big hat tip for noticing the caption to Randy Stapilus at the Ridenbaugh Press.

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    Thankfully this duo is no longer in power at all. To bad this creeps behavior will still cost the state time and resources that are desperately needed elsewhere.

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    In fairness, is everyone who is sued for a specific amount really "facing" a judgment in that amount? Technically, yes. But it's a rare thing that the prayer for damages equates to a judgment. The prayer is simply the upper limit on what the plaintiff might recover. It would be more accurate to say that he's been sued for that amount; there's a wide chasm between "sued" and "judgment."

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      True dat.

      But I suspect there's a difference in the credibility of the damages that might be sought by a private party - and the damages sought by the State of Oregon.

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    When there's such a gulf between what he's supposed to be doing and what he was doing, shouldn't the person that put him in the position be on the hook to?

    Good riddance. Hope Karen gives him daily hell (and it knaws at her like a demented meerkat)!

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    The John Minnis sexual harassment charges are old news. What I find fascinating about this is that BOLI proposes to handle a $2 million sexual harassment claim in their administrative hearing process.

    Historically, these claims were withdrawn from BOLI after an initial filing then filed as a lawsuit in federal court (which requires you first "exhaust" your administrative remedies before filing your lawsuit). The reason is that BOLI didn't hand out awards of this size.

    And I'm not convinced they should. When I was labor commissioner, I defended our administrative process as a relatively quick and inexpensive way to resolve smaller cases. But a plaintiff with a legitimate $2 million claim should be able to get a lawyer to take it on a contingent fee basis and go to court.

    If BOLI starts handing out awards measured in the millions of dollars with no jury or a real judge (administrative law judge don't even have to be lawyers, and often aren't--not to mention they are employees of BOLI and that it is the elected labor commissioner, not the ALJ, who makes the final decision) I think there is a real risk of a backlash that could undermine the administrative process for those cases where it is appropriate.

    Forget that this is John Minnis for the moment. It seems to me that civil libertarians should be concerned about using the administrative hearings process in cases like this.

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