Cumberland County Civic Center employees sue for severence pay

Lawsuit against former arena operators

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Cumberland County Civic Center employees are suing for severance pay.

Five current and former employees have filed a class action suit against the Cumberland County Recreation District after the CCRD stopped operating the Civic Center in March of 2015 and terminated all of the employees.

Spectra, a Philadelphia-based division of Comcast, now runs the Center. They rehired many of the former employees back but the plaintiffs' attorney said those employees now work under "substantially different terms."

According to one of the employees, they now can be fired without just cause, have fewer paid holidays and full-time employees work more hours without additional pay.

The plaintiffs' attorney said Wednesday that employees would no longer have any right to go to arbitration or court if one's contract is terminated.

"For all of the employees who worked at the center, they have all suffered -- to one extent or another -- a significant loss, some more so than others," said Jeffrey Young, the attorney for the employees.

Under Maine law, the Civic Center is managed by nine trustees who live in Cumberland County and are appointed to the CCRD Board by the Cumberland County Board of Commissioners. Each one serves a three-year term. One employee says the Board assured workers there would be no changes.  

The employees did not want to file suit. We have tried repeatedly to resolve this matter. Unfortunately, despite the many years of service of the Center’s employees, the CCRD Trustees never seemed to take them seriously. They left their dedicated employees to the whims of an out-of-state employer who provides substantially fewer benefits and protections. The employees had no choice but to file suit,” said Young.

Young said the CCRD had no severance package as part of the employee contract. He estimated that he could end up representing about 120 former and current employees.

 

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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