CHARLESTON -- A Kanawha County man is suing Maple Coal Co. for retaliation after he complained about other employees smoking.

David Best and Donnie Roberts were also named as defendants in the suit.

Mark Haynes was employed by Maple Coal CO. as a belt man, according to a complaint filed Dec. 21 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Haynes claims on Oct. 19 at 11:20 p.m. he observed two miners smoking while underground, and he reported the incident the following morning to the safety manager.

Later that morning, Best approached Haynes and threatened him, saying he knew it was him who had reported the two miners and that "what happens on this section, stays on this section, not outside or off of the hill," according to the suit.

Haynes claims he began to experience retaliation by his co-workers and supervisors after the incident.

On Oct. 26, Haynes discovered his boots had been slashed with a knife or a razor, according to the suit, and over the next two days he found notes taped to the outside of his locker referring to him as a rat.

Haynes claims on Nov. 2, while his truck was on company property, his right front truck tire was slashed and grease was placed under the left side door handle.

Although he repeatedly complained about the harassment, and on Nov. 9, he was notified by Roberts that his employment was terminated, according to the suit.

Haynes is seeking compensatory and punitive damages. He is being represented by C. Benjamin Salango.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Paul Zakaib Jr.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 11-C-2279

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