Co-Op Settles Termination Lawsuit

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 5/6/2016 12:18:45 AM
Modified: 5/6/2016 5:49:05 PM

Lebanon — Two former Lebanon Co-op workers appear to have reached a settlement with the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society in their wrongful-termination suit, parties on both sides said Thursday night.

Scott McGee, the Norwich-based attorney for Dan King and John Boutin, said a settlement has been reached, but said he couldn’t speak to its details.

“The matter’s been settled, it’s subject to a confidentiality agreement, and I can’t make further comment,” he said.

Co-op General Manager Terry Appleby said the parties have agreed to a memorandum of understanding that includes a confidentiality clause, but the final documents have yet to be signed.

King and Boutin’s firings in summer 2014 sparked protests, a failed union drive and the formation of the activist movement Concerned About the Co-op, which has demanded that the two popular employees be reinstated to their former positions.

But King, who now works at Norwich Wines & Spirits, said he was unlikely to return to the Lebanon store.

“I doubt it very much,” he said by phone Thursday. “I don’t think I’d be welcome.”

The potential settlement comes just days after an election in which five candidates earned seats on the Co-op’s Board of Directors, including two current employees and two people affiliated with Concerned About the Co-op.

King and Boutin’s original complaint, from November 2014, named the Hanover Consumer Cooperative Society, Appleby and several other managers and members of the Co-op board.

Many of those managers and directors, including those who carried out the firings, are leaving or have left the Co-op since then.

The complaint alleged the two men’s termination had come as retaliation for their criticism of adverse working conditions, as well as for their discussion of unionization.

The Co-op has denied it violated employees’ rights and said their dismissals were not related to efforts to organize a union.

Rob Wolfe can be reached at rwolfe@vnews.com.

Editor’s Note

An earlier version of this story summarized the employees’ original complaints but failed to include the Co-op’s response. The Co-op has denied it violated employees’ rights and said their dismissals were not related to efforts to organize a union.




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