RSU 9 asks Farmington court to dismiss lawsuit

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FARMINGTON — Regional School Unit 9 lawyers have asked the Franklin County Superior Court to dismiss a three-count civil suit filed by a retired Industry teacher who claims she’s owed back pay.

The reasons for dismissal include that Janet Plouffe’s salary was controlled by a collective bargaining agreement, which requires a grievance procedure that she did not submit to.

Plouffe is suing the district for wages plus interest dating from Sept. 1, 2003, to June 15, 2016, according to the lawsuit. She also claims the district violated the Minimum Wage Law and that it financially harmed her retirement pay.

The suit claims Plouffe worked for RSU 9 as a part-time teacher two full days per week but only received wages for 1½ days each week.

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Plouffe’s attorney, Donald Fontaine, of Portland filed the lawsuit in February.

The district’s attorneys, Peter Felmly and Michael Buescher of Portland, wrote that Plouffe’s claims fail for three reasons.

“First, her complaint ignores that the terms and conditions of her employment, including her salary, were controlled by a collective bargaining agreement which requires that all disputes relating to her terms and conditions of employment, including disputes about her compensation, be submitted to a grievance procedure and ultimately to binding arbitration. (Plouffe) has failed to exhaust the grievance procedure in the applicable collective bargaining agreement,” according to the dismissal document.

Second, Plouffe admitted she was paid for her services, but disagrees with the amount, the attorneys wrote.

“Finally, (Plouffe) cannot legally maintain her minimum wage claim against RSU 9 because under federal and state law, teachers are exempt professional employees, and she has been paid the required salary of a teacher,” according to RSU 9 attorneys.

Plouffe asks the court to award her unpaid wages, an additional amount the court determines is due her, and the cost of the lawsuit.

RSU 9 asks the court to dismiss the complaint and grant other relief it considers appropriate.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

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