Miner says company accused him of failing drug test, fired him

By Kelly Holleran | Aug 7, 2014

CHARLESTON -- A coal miner claims his employer wrongly accused him of failing a drug test so it could fire him.

Victor J. Lawrence filed a lawsuit July 2 in Kanawha Circuit Court against Selah Corporation, citing denial of leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act, medical condition caused by the defendant, invasion of privacy, defamation of character, emotional distress and retaliation.

Lawrence claims he began working as a coal miner for Selah beginning April 21, 2006. During his employment, Lawrence requested time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act, saying his wife had a serious medical condition, according to the complaint.

Not only was Lawrence denied the time off from work, but he claims he was also told his wife's claims on his health insurance were excessive, the suit states.

Selah proceeded to encourage Lawrence to divorce his wife so she could be expelled from his health insurance plan, the complaint says. The company threatened to discharge Lawrence if he failed to divorce his wife, he claims.

After Lawrence refused to divorce his wife, Selah required him to undergo multiple drug tests, according to the complaint. Even though Lawrence later received a report saying no drugs were identified in his system, Selah fired him July 10, 2012, for allegedly failing a drug test, the suit states.

Lawrence is seeking a judgement of compensatory and punitive damages, plus reinstatement to his former position and other relief the court deems just.

He is being represented by attorney Fred F. Holroyd of Holroyd and Yost in Charleston. The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Louis H. Bloom.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number 14-C-1197


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