BECKLEY -- A miner is suing his former employer over allegations that he was fired for his advanced age and in retaliation for recent complaints he'd made.

Steve J. Pauley filed a complaint May 29 in Raleigh Circuit Court against Rhino Eastern LLC and Patriot Coal Corp.

Pauley, who'd worked for the defendants for three years, was terminated on Dec. 30, 2014, and replaced "by a much younger employee," the lawsuit states. He was earning $26.50 an hour when he was laid off.

In addition to his age, Pauley alleges in the lawsuit that part of the decision to terminate him stemmed from his making safety complaints to Rhino shortly before being fired.

Citing age discrimination, civil conspiracy, fraud and retaliatory discharge, Pauley seeks lost wages and benefits; back and front pay; damages for "indignity, embarrassment and humiliation"; unspecified punitive damages; pre- and post-judgment interest; attorneys' fees; and court costs.

Pauley also demands a jury trial.

The plaintiff is represented by Anthony M. Salvatore of Hewitt and Salvatore in Beckley.

Raleigh County Circuit Court case number 15C436H.

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