Graduates of Biosphere 2 sue to collect back wages

March 25, 1994|By The Arizona Republic

PHOENIX -- Biosphere 2 was supposed to be a space-station prototype that someday would free people from the bounds of Earth.

But there's no escaping labor laws, two Biospherians insist in a federal lawsuit filed this month.

Jane Poynter and Taber MacCallum, who lived for two years inside the giant greenhouse near Oracle, are suing the operators of Biosphere 2 for overtime pay and back wages. Their suit

seeks damages and triple the back wages owed but does not specify an amount.

The two claim they frequently worked more than 40 hours a week as Biospherians but never were paid for overtime. In addition, the suit claims, the pair have not been paid a $10,000 bonus each was promised in September when they emerged from the closed environment.

The suit was filed March 17. It names as defendants Space Biospheres Ventures Inc., a private company headed by Texas billionaire Ed Bass; and two affiliated firms, Decisions Team Inc. and Decisions Investments Inc.

Carolita Oliveros, a vice president for Space Biospheres Ventures, said she had not been served with the suit and could not comment.

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