By editorial board • 

Public being denied justice in local sexual harassment case

The well-established legal dictum, “Justice delayed is justice denied,” dates back to the Magna Carta. The foundational document for both English and American jurisprudence, it was ratified under the reign of England’s King John in 1215 — more than eight centuries ago.

However, word doesn’t seem to have yet reached the city of Dundee or state Bureau of Labor & Industries.

Workplace misconduct complaints against Dundee Fire Chief John Stock were lodged with the city in mid-2019 and the state in December 2019, and a second state filing followed long ago. Investigation of the initial city complaint, alleging retaliation, was completed by the city’s insurance company in August 2019.

However, the city did not place Stock on administrative leave until Feb. 28 of this year, under allegations of pervasive sexual harassment. The case remains unresolved to this day, leaving the city carrying the dead weight of a $79,268 salary with full benefit package and fire officials from neighboring communities on the hook to fill in.

With Stock sidelined, Amy Hanifan, the McMinnville Fire Department’s second-in-command, has been pressed into service as interim chief in Dundee. Meanwhile, Fred Hertel, chief in Sheridan, Southwestern Polk and West Valley, has been forced to assume Stock’s duties as head of the Yamhill County Fire Defense Board.

BOLI claims it tries to complete investigations and develop findings within seven months, but more complex cases can stretch on for a year or more. Sorry, but we don’t see that it should take even seven months to interview relevant parties and reach a conclusion, let alone 12, no matter how tangled a particular case might prove.

Yes, BOLI is being asked to do more with much less these days — much more with much less, in fact.

In addition to handling race and gender discrimination complaints, it is being asked to enforce wage and hour laws, oversee worker apprenticeship and training, protect insurance industry consumers and provide employees with regulatory advice and assistance.

It is being asked to do so with a staff of just 97, down from 200 a quarter of a century ago, when demands and expectations were substantially lighter. And the global pandemic has further stretched agency resources in recent months.

Still, we don’t find it acceptable for any arm of justice to leave agencies and individuals dangling in limbo for months on end.

A long list of recent corporate miscreants have been dispatched on the basis of swift investigations, including celebrities Roger Ailes, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly and Les Moonves, and the CEOs of McDonald’s, Uber, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Best Buy and Lockheed. And Liberty University just parted ways with Jerry Falwell Jr. in a matter of days.

Two women have lodged serious workforce complaints against Stock.

One said he imposed special requirements on her, denied her training and advancement opportunities, frequently crossed the lines of a professional relationship, demanded she work through an on-the-job injury eventually requiring surgery, and retaliated against her for filing a workers compensation claim.

She said he continually pressured her by phone and text during off-duty hours, often while intoxicated, to come by his house for drinks. She also alleged he pressured her to take a coastal getaway with him and subjected her repeatedly to unwanted touching and comments of a sexual nature.

The second accused Stock of “creating a hostile work environment by making a number of inappropriate sexual comments and by frequently demeaning women.” She said he created an atmosphere where degrading comments about women were “pervasive and severe.”

BOLI’s short staffing and pandemic constraints notwithstanding, trained professionals who investigate sexual harassment complaints for a living should not need this much time to sort things out.

The public has a right to timely findings on the degree to which these serious complaints are founded, if any. And that’s something it’s being denied to great detriment.



BOLI is a joke. They do NOT enforce laws nor hold businesses and individuals accountable for criminal activity.


“Justice delayed is justice denied,”is a legal maxim. It means that if legal redress or equitable relief to an injured party is available, but is not forthcoming in a timely fashion, it is effectively the same as having no remedy at all. That pretty much sums up this case thus far...


While I’m not a big fan of BOLI, the premise that justice has been denied is just not accurate....The plaintiff has the option to advance her case with private counsel at any time.

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