Hostile Work Environment Applies Only to Government Employees When Victimized by Protesters

May 24, 2006


Schumacher employee displays picture of protester in front of store on a typical Saturday protest.
On Sunday we saw in the O that peace as we know it at Schumacher Fur was imperiled because of what possibly could be the break down of peace talks between the nutty Portland Professional Protester Class and the legal, longstanding, successful fur store.

City-sponsored mediation could start this week between activist Matt Rossell of In Defense of Animals and Gregg Schumacher of Schumacher Furs & Outerwear, a Portland business since 1895, though there could be a hitch.

The O goes on to explain that the anti fur, nutty, professional protesters are slightly out of control and therefore appeasing these kooks might be problematic. For instance:

At one point, activists enveloped two departing fur-store patrons in a bedlam of catcalls and chants: “Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.”
The patrons, Dave and Janet Denton of Gresham, first walked half a block down and back. Then they beelined across the street to complain with venom to police that they should not be letting picketers treat shoppers that way.

Today we read in the same newspaper a story with the headline “Animal Excludes Animal Activist” that sounded quite familiar:

The county formally barred Gail O’Connell-Babcock from the animal facility.
… an Oregon Occupational Safety and Health Division report suggested the county remedy a “hostile” work environment that employees attributed to O’Connell-Babcock’s frequent presence.
The document banning her for one year cites O’Connell-Babcock for abusive or threatening behavior, unreasonably noisy and/or disruptive behavior, and for interfering with county business.
(emphasis added)
Employees told me that some days she would walk by staff and say, ‘Murderer, murderer,’ or ‘Puppy killer, puppy killer,’ under her breath,” Steward said. “Other days she would bring out cookies for the employees. It was very disconcerting.”

So, here’s the lesson, if you work for the government the government will protect you from crazy protesters who threaten you. If you work for a legitimate business the government will NOT protect you from crazy protesters who threaten you. Oh, and those protesters have done plenty of threatening, “educating,” chasing customers, shouting in the faces of customers, trespassing–you name it. I’ve seen it ALL on videotape.


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