Update at 5:26 p.m.: Just kidding. Great Clips sends word that they are in the process of dismissing the lawsuit. "We have come to an amicable resolution with Mr. Ross," the company said in a statement.
You may not have noticed, but the hair-styling landscape in Dallas is shifting beneath your feet. That's because last week in federal court in Minnesota, Great Clips, Inc. sued to wrest control of 11 DFW franchises from their current owner, Steven Ross and Blue Otter Group, LLC.
Why? Well, for a lot of reasons. For one, "Ross was often intoxicated and belligerent" and made comments that were "demeaning, harassing, derogatory, slanderous and discriminatory." the lawsuit says. Also, "Ross engaged in raiding employees from other Great Clips salons in the area and inappropriate payment practices (paying late, reducing hourly pay without reason or notice, etc.)."
During 2011, there were 14 separate threats of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or labor charges regarding Ross' franchises, Great Clips, Inc. said. In one case this February, an employee quit because, as she told it, a drunk Ross would call her in the middle of the night and say demeaning things. The employee then told anyone who would listen that Ross employed an illegal immigrant with a false social security card. This "led to investigations and inquiries from the media to Great Clips," though a Google search tells me that nothing apparently made it on air or in print. Until Great Clips put it in a lawsuit, of course.
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Complaints about Ross' behavior had poured in to Great Clips intermittently since 2007, but it wasn't until this year, June 12 in fact, that Great Clips hand-delivered a letter terminating its franchise agreements with Ross. Except that Ross has refused to turn over the salons and equipment to Great Clips corporate. Hence the lawsuit.
From what I can glean from calling the Great Clips on Greenville Avenue yesterday, Ross' shops are still in operation. Ross himself hasn't yet returned my call. But a word of caution from the lawsuit: Nine of Ross' 11 salons fall below Great Clips' own quality standards. Which begs the question, "Wait, Great Clips has quality standards?" Only kidding, of course. I think.