Former Coal Mine Worker Wrongfully Terminated for Enforcing Safety Regulations

A former employee in West Virginia has filed a wrongful termination lawsuit against a subsidiary of Massey Energy and Alpha Natural Resources, Performance Coal Co. Glen Farley worked various jobs at Performance Coal for 11 years before he was discharged, allegedly for enforcing safety standards, according to The State Journal.

“Although Massey Energy sold out to Alpha Natural Resources, the same persons who operated the Massey Energy subsidiaries, specifically Performance Coal Company, are still operating those subsidiaries, specifically Performance Coal Company, are still operating those subsidiaries and old habits die slowly if at all,” the lawsuit states.

The lawsuit cites two specific examples where Farley was enforcing safety standards, which ended up costing Performance Coal money, including a time where he shut down a mine indefinitely after finding an uncovered gas line in the road. Farley was fired later that month despite recently receiving an “outstanding evaluation.”

Farley is protected from any retaliation for following safety regulations under whistleblower protection laws. Unless Massey Energy and Performance Coal can provide just cause for the firing, this seems like a pretty clear case of wrongful termination.

Kesluk, Silverstein & Jacob—Los Angeles employment law attorneys