Labor Lawsuit Targets Exclusive Retreat Bohemian Grove

The plaintiffs have ambitious plans for the suit

Bohemian Grove
Bohemian Club Grove scene, between 1896 and 1911.
Heritage Images via Getty Images

For over a century, some of the world’s most powerful men have gathered at Bohemian Grove in California to do…well, whatever it is the world’s most powerful men do. The very existence of such a place is, unsurprisingly, catnip to satirists, and both The Simpsons and Harry Shearer have riffed on the concept over the years. The organization’s logo also sparked a conspiracy theory in 2021 related to a shirt worn by Emmanuel Macron.

Now, the elite institution is facing a more serious dilemma than threats posed by satirists or conspiracy theorists. As William D. Cohan reports at Air Mail, several valets who have worked at the secretive retreat have filed a lawsuit against Bohemian Grove, accusing the space of exploitative behavior.

Three valets contended in their lawsuit that they were overworked during the retreat’s “Summer Encampment,” as well as having been underpaid for their work. The lawsuit also contends that they were, in part, paid under the table for their work. You’d think that an organization that has counted the likes of Charles Schwab, Henry Kissinger and Clarence Thomas as members over the years would not be short on cash, and yet here we are.

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Cohan notes that Bohemian Grove is a relatively unique space, referring to both the lack of a media presence there and its status as “one of the last bastions of male exclusivity in the country.” This lawsuit could take on even larger stakes soon; the plaintiffs told Cohan that their goal is to transform their lawsuit into a class action suit on behalf of a much larger group of Bohemian Grove workers.

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