Kentucky Miner Sued for Filing Discrimination Complaint
A miner from Kentucky, Reuben Shemwell, is being sued by his former employer, Armstrong Coal, for what he believes is retaliation for complaining about the work conditions of the mines.
Shemwell had originally filed a complaint with the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), a federal agency responsible for the oversight of mines. The complaint alleged that the confined spaces within the mines had been overcome by fumes and that the respirators provided to miners were inadequate. However, Armstrong Coal shut down the site instead of allowing the MSHA to complete an inspection.
Soon after making the complaint, Shemwell was terminated from employment. After filing a lawsuit against the company alleging wrongful termination, Armstrong responded by suing Shemwell, claiming he filed a false discrimination complaint.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against employees for opposing any practice or for making charges, testifying, assisting, or participating in an investigation of unlawful employment practices. Similarly, California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes it illegal to retaliate against employees for reporting illegal conduct on the part of the employer.
If you or anyone you know has been terminated from a job for reporting illegal conduct, please contact Khorrami, LLP for a confidential consultation.