Inn employee sues the College

by Heather Kofke-Egger | 10/30/98 6:00am

Archimedes Plutonium, a pot washer at the Hanover Inn, filed suit against the College on Oct. 14, alleging harassment and an unfair wage and pay-raise policy.

Plutonium's case, filed at the Grafton Superior Court, contends that Dartmouth College discriminates against the lowest paid workers when granting pay raises and uses the work schedule to punish and harass workers.

Laurel Stavis, director of Public Affairs for the College, refused to comment on the pending litigation, other than to say, "We're very proud of our employment record."

Plutonium said the College's employee grievance system "does not work well."

Plutonium has been employed, first as a cashier and later as a pot washer, since 1989. The Hanover Inn is owned by Dartmouth, therefore Plutonium is considered a College employee.

Plutonium is known for his "Plutonium Atom Totality Theorem," which says that the universe is actually one gigantic plutonium atom.

In 1994, Plutonium had his computing privileges revoked for 30 days after one of his Internet sites made a reference to The New York Times as "The Jew York Times."

Beginning in 1995, Plutonium said, he was forced to do the work of two people every Monday night. At that time Plutonium filed a complaint against his boss, Mike Gray, through the College's grievance system. His grievance was dismissed.

This past August, Plutonium said, he received his annual raise, which was only 3 cents per hour this year. Plutonium also said other workers received no raise, while some got 20 to 30 cents per hour.

He filed another grievance with the College in August, which Plutonium said he felt was not sufficiently resolved on Oct. 12, at which point he decided to file his lawsuit.

After filing his lawsuit, Plutonium alleges he received e-mail from the College's lawyers instructing him not to talk to any of the other parties involved in his suit and to check to make sure he was still employed at the Hanover Inn.

"I read that between the lines as 'we don't like what you're doing and we might just fire you,'" Plutonium said.

In 1994 Dartmouth College lost a suit brought by Catherine Whitcomb, another Hanover Inn employee. She was fired in May of 1992 after complaining of discrimination against her because she was pregnant. The jury found the college was not guilty of discrimination but guilty of retaliating against her for complaining.

Plutonium said he is representing himself because he could not find a lawyer to take the case.