Skip Maine state header navigation

Agencies | Online Services | Help
Gallant v. Bartash, Inc.
Download as PDF
Back to the Opinions page

MAINE SUPREME JUDICIAL COURT					Reporter of Decisions
Decision:	2002 ME 4
Docket:	Oxf-01-473
Submitted
  on Briefs:	December 20, 2001
Decided:	January 4, 2002

Panel:		SAUFLEY, C.J., and CLIFFORD, RUDMAN, DANA, ALEXANDER, and CALKINS,
		JJ.


SHIRLEY A. GALLANT v. BARTASH, INC.


RUDMAN, J.

	[¶1]  Shirley A. Gallant appeals from a summary judgment entered in
the District Court (Rumford, McElwee, J.) in favor of Bartash, Inc.  Gallant
asserts that her former employer, Bartash, Inc., did not pay her vacation
time within "a reasonable time" as required by 26 M.R.S.A. § 626 (Supp.
2001).{1}  We disagree and affirm the judgment.
	[¶2]  Gallant last worked for Bartash, Inc. on March 7, 2001 and was
paid for wages owed on March 21, 2001.  She made a demand for vacation
pay on March 27, 2001 which was paid to her on April 4, 2001.  She asserts
that the "reasonable time" commenced to run upon her termination from
employment and thus that she was owed both her wages and vacation pay on
the next pay day, March 21, 2001.  She posits that her claim arises on her
termination, not her demand.
	[¶3]  	"When construing a statute, we seek to give effect to the
legislative intent by examining the plain meaning of the statutory language."
Burke v. Port Resort Realty, 1999 ME 138, ¶ 8, 737 A.2d 1055, 1059.  The
first sentence of the statute states that the employer must pay back wages
"within reasonable amount of time" after the employee has made a demand:
"'An employee leaving employment must be paid in full within a reasonable
time after demand at the office of the employer where payrolls are kept and
wages are paid . . . .'" Id., ¶ 9 (quoting 26 M.R.S.A. § 626).  The statute
further provides the definition of "reasonable time:" "For purposes of this
subchapter, a reasonable time means the earlier of either the next day on
which employees would regularly be paid or a day not more than 2 weeks
after the day on which demand is made."  26 M.R.S.A. § 626.  The plain
language of the statute requires that a demand be made in order to trigger
the penalty provisions of the statute.
	The entry is:
			Judgment affirmed.

Attorneys for plaintiff: Joseph R. Saunders, Esq. Thomas W. Merrill, Esq. Carey & Associates P O Box 100 Rumford, ME 04276-0100 Attorney for defendant: David W. Austin, Esq. P O Box 638 Rumford, ME 04276-0638
FOOTNOTES******************************** {1} . Section 626 of Title 26 provides, in part: § 626. Cessation of employment An employee leaving employment must be paid in full within a reasonable time after demand at the office of the employer where payrolls are kept and wages are paid, provided that any overcompensation may be withheld if authorized under section 635 and any loan or advance against future earnings or wages may be deducted if evidenced by a statement in writing signed by the employee. Whenever the terms of employment include provisions for paid vacations, vacation pay on cessation of employment has the same status as wages earned. For purposes of this section, the term "employee" means any person who performs services for another in return for compensation, but does not include an independent contractor. For purposes of this subchapter, a reasonable time means the earlier of either the next day on which employees would regularly be paid or a day not more than 2 weeks after the day on which the demand is made. . . . . 26 M.R.S.A. § 626 (Supp. 2001).