FAYETTEVILE – Three former mine workers for Alpha Natural Resources and Republic Energy say the coal companies fired them based on their ages and for making safety complaints.

Keith Richards and Stewart and Janetta Hudnall filed separate lawsuits May 29 in Fayette Circuit Court against Alpha Natural Resources Inc., Republic Energy Inc., Alpha Natural Resource Services, Eagle Equipment and James Wood III, citing retaliatory discharge, age discrimination, fraud and conspiracy.

According to the complaint, the three mine workers routinely brought their safety concerns and those of co-workers to management's attention while on the job. The suit says each was terminated on Nov. 1, 2013, allegedly resulting from decreased market demand for coal. However, the plaintiffs state that contractors for Eagle Equipment were brought in to take their positions, which paid between $21 and $23 an hour.

The plaintiffs seek a jury trial, plus punitive and compensatory damages and litigation costs. They are represented by Beckley attorney Anthony M. Salvatore of Hewitt & Salvatore. Judge John W. Hatcher Jr. is assigned to the case.

Fayette Circuit Court case number 15-C-145 and 15-C-146

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