Former employee sues Coal River Mining for discrimination

By Kyla Asbury | Dec 5, 2012

CHARLESTON - A former employee is suing Coal River Mining, LLC, after he claims he was discriminated against because of a disability.

Elijah Williamson was employed by Coal River from Aug. 1, 2010, until Jan. 17, according to a complaint filed Nov. 19 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Williamson claims he was injured on Sept. 23, 2011, and remained off work until Jan. 16 and was then able to return to work.

On Jan. 17, Williamson was given a new position with fewer hours and, after he underwent a urine test and reviewed safety videos, was told he was “no longer wanted as an employee,” according to the suit, and left the worksite.

Williamson claims the defendant’s actions created a workplace atmosphere that was so difficult and intolerable that a reasonable person would be compelled to resign, and in doing so, he was constructively discharged.

Coal River’s conduct was malicious, intentional and in reckless disregard for Williamson’s protected rights, according to the suit, and Williamson’s pursuit and receipt of benefits under the West Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act was a significant factor in the defendant’s adverse actions.

Williamson claims the defendant violated the West Virginia Human Rights Act because he was discriminated against because of his disability and in retaliation for receiving benefits.

The defendant’s adverse treatment of Williamson violated substantial West Virginia public policy and caused Williamson to suffer loss of pay, physical pain, emotional pain, suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, loss of enjoyment of life and other non-pecuniary losses, according to the suit.

Williamson is seeking compensatory and punitive damages and reinstatement. He is being represented by Stephen P. New, Robert A. Campbell and Matthew H. Nelson.

The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 12-C-2315

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