CHARLESTON - A former employee is suing Alpha Appalachian Services after he claims he was discriminated against because of his age.
Spartan Mining Company was also named as a defendant in the suit.
Charles Treadway was employed by the defendants beginning Dec. 2, 2008, according to a complaint filed April 4 in Kanawha Circuit Court.
Treadway claims he was hired after an administrative law judge ruled that the defendants' predecessor, Massey Energy, committed unfair labor practices by not hiring union members when it purchased the company in or around 2004 and ordered it to offer jobs to those displaced workers.
The plaintiff was also a member of an age discrimination class action lawsuit against Massey arising out of his application in 2004, which was settled in 2009, according to the suit.
Treadway claims since he was hired, he has been treated in a disparate manner and compared to younger employees.
Pursuant to the administrative law judge's order, Treadway was supposed to be hired into his former position, he says. However, he was not and he was assigned to less favorable positions several times during his employment, according to the suit.
Treadway claims on March 15, 2011, he sent a letter to the defendants requesting to be trained and transferred to the Number Two mine and never received the requested training or transfer.
After injuring his back at work, Treadway was treated at Montgomery General Hospital and filed a Workers' Compensation claim for the treatment, according to the suit, and on March 24, 2011, he reinjured his back and filled out an incident report, but did not file a Workers' Compensation claim or seek additional medical treatment.
Treadway claims on March 25, 2011, he was called to the office and questioned by management about his accident and at the meeting, he was informed that hand-loading belt structure was part of his job duties and that he was hired under Massey Energy policies and was asked if he was taking prescription medications.
The plaintiff informed his supervisors that he had a prescription for pain medication, but was not taking it due to the side effects and warnings on the label, according to the suit.
Treadway claims on the same day as the meeting, he gave the defendant another letter requesting a response to his March 15, 2011, letter and a few days later, he received a COBRA notification in the mail that indicated that his employment was terminated on March 24, 2011, but he was never informed he was fired.
In April 2011, Treadway was transferred to the Stockton overland belts to perform general labor and during that work, he was subjected to verbal abuse by his supervisors, according to the suit.
Treadway claims he was transferred to another part of the mine and then underground to work at the Coalburg Mine between November 2011 and March 2012 and was subjected to abuse.
On March 9, 2012, Treadway sent a letter to his supervisors informing them of his belief that requiring him to perform hard physical labor was in violation of the administrative law judge's order, according to the suit.
Treadway claims on March 22, 2012, he had a meeting with several members of management to discuss his letter and request for a transfer to another area of the mine and on March 30, 2012, he was called into the office and was given notice that he was being laid off due to a reduction in force effective May 29, 2012.
The defendants failed to pay Treadway his wages by the next regular payday and did not pay his final wages until June 15, 2012, according to the suit.
Treadway claims the defendants' actions were in retaliation for his complaints and due to his age.
The defendants' actions were willful, wanton, malicious and/or carried out with reckless disregard for Treadway's legal rights, according to the suit.
Treadway is seeking compensatory and punitive damages with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Kristina Thomas Whiteaker and David L. Grubb of the Grubb Law Group.
The case has been assigned to Circuit Judge Carrie Webster.
Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 13-C-627