Man sues mining company for wrongful termination

By Kyla Asbury | May 12, 2015

BLUEFIELD – A man is suing Raw Coal Mining Company after he claims he was wrongfully terminated from his employment.

Allen Anthony Hatfield was employed by Raw Coal Mining Company as an electrician from Oct. 1, 2012, until June 3, according to a complaint initially filed March 27 in McDowell Circuit Court and removed to federal court on April 24.

Hatfield claims during his employment he consistently performed his duties in a satisfactory manner.

During his employment, Hatfield raised his concerns regarding safety and health issues and, on at least one occasion, refused to perform work which he reasonably believed to be unsafe and/or in violation of applicable laws and regulations regarding the health and safety of coal miners, according to the suit.

Hatfield claims on June 3, he was tasked with replacing a damaged shuttle car cable and he refused to use a section of cable as a splice.

Hatfield's refusal was based upon his good faith belief that using the section of cable, which bore evidence of tire tracks and damage, was neither safe nor in compliance with applicable safety regulations, according to the suit.

Hatfield claims Tim Collins, the shift foreman, however, insisted that Hatfield do so and, in fear of his job, Hatfield tested the cable and was satisfied that, while not optimal and likely in violation of regulations and interpretive decision, the use of the cable as a temporary splice would not place his co-workers in danger.

Before Hatfield could finish, Collins informed him that his employment was terminated for insubordination, according to the suit.

Hatfield claims the defendants violated West Virginia public policy.

Hatfield is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Stephen B. Farmer and Matthew H. Nelson of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC.

The case is assigned to District Judge David A. Faber.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia case number: 1:15-cv-05183

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