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Age Discrimination Lawsuits Filed Against West Virginia Mining Company.

West Virginia Mining Company

Three West Virginia miners have filed lawsuits against their former employer, claiming they were discriminated against because of their age and fired from their jobs on that basis. Larry McMichen, 61, was laid off from his job as a fire boss and outside belt man, and John Hackworth, 58, was laid off from his job as a roof bolt operator, in April 2012. Michael S. Webb, 43, was laid off nearly two months later from his job as an operator. The men have filed suit against their employer, Spartan Mining Company, in Boone County Circuit Court.

Like the federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of age, with the threshold age being 40 or above to qualify for protection under the law. Age discrimination can include firing someone because of their age, as well as considering age as a factor in determining who will have to go during a layoff or reduction in force. Treating someone differently because of their age, as well as instituting a policy that has a disparate impact on persons in a protected group, such as workers over 40, can also be illegal discrimination.

The lawsuit has been filed against Spartan Mining Company, doing business as Mammoth Coal Company, and other related companies. Spartan Mining Company of Sylvester in Boone County is listed as a subsidiary of Alpha Natural Resources, Inc. on the Bloomberg Businessweek website. Alpha’s own website lists 21 separate offices in West Virginia, including Mammoth Coal Company.

Remedies for employment discrimination can include reinstatement with backpay and other legal damages.

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