Former Employees Allege La Mota Failed to Protect Them From Armed Weed Bandits

A Roseburg budtender wrote last November to BOLI, “I quit without much notice due to HR’s lack of empathy with safety.”

As vendors sued La Mota and the feds demanded back taxes, employees complained, too.

Records show that 21 former employees have filed complaints against La Mota with the Oregon Bureau of Labor & Industries since 2019. They allege unpaid or late wages, unsafe working conditions due to health hazards, and allege the company did not implement safety precautions after armed robberies.

Robbers targeted three La Mota stores in Portland in the fall of 2022. Video that WW obtained from one robbery shows five masked men entering the store, one holding an assault rifle to the young budtender’s head as the others pillage the shop.

A Roseburg budtender wrote last November to BOLI, “I quit without much notice due to HR’s lack of empathy with safety.”

Seven former employees WW spoke with said utility bills went unpaid. “They wanted me to put thousands of dollars on my debit card to pay the bills,” says a former store manager, Meagan Roberston.

Four former employees have sued La Mota: One alleged sexual harassment and gender discrimination; another alleged the company failed to accommodate her diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder after she was assaulted by a customer. Both cases go to trial in 2024.

After WW began reaching out to former La Mota employees, at least one former contractor received a letter from La Mota’s attorney, Amy Margolis, reminding them of a nondisclosure agreement they signed when hired.

“My clients are shocked by the inflammatory and inappropriate questions posed by the reporter and believe any response to this inquiry could, and most certainly will, place my clients in significant danger,” Margolis wrote. “Any information you may have learned while contracted with, or on behalf of my clients…is privileged and confidential.”

Another employee who initially agreed to an interview cited a text to all La Mota employees from a manager on March 3 about the nondisclosure agreement as the reason for her decision not to speak.

Read our cover story: The power couple of Oregon cannabis bankrolled top Democrats even as their companies’ taxes and bills went unpaid.

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