Avakian Awards $127, 713 in Sex Harassment Case
By Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries
In mid-September, Commissioner Avakian issued a final order in the sexual harassment case against From the Wilderness, Inc. (FTWI) and Michael Ruppert of Ashland. In addition to awarding lost wages, Commissioner Avakian ordered $125,000 in mental and emotional suffering damages paid to Lindsay Gerken for the workplace harassment and retaliation she suffered during her less than three months of employment at FTWI.
“BOLI conducts unbiased, third-party investigations of the complaints we receive,” said Commissioner Avakian. “But when the investigation finds substantial evidence of a law violation, we will vigorously pursue justice. In this case, BOLI’s investigation discovered compelling evidence that fully justifies this damage award.”
Gerken filed a complaint alleging sexual harassment by Ruppert during her employment with FTWI and for retaliation for terminating her after she refused his advances. Explicitly invited to engage in a sexual relationship with Ruppert on a Friday, Gerken declined and was terminated the following week. To read the final order’s description of the continuing pattern of harassment by Ruppert, click here.