A gay coal miner is suing a subsidiary of Richmond-based Massey Energy Co. for harassment. A gay West Virginia coal miner, Sam Hall, says co-workers have harassed him at Spartan Mining Co. because of his sexual orientation.
Massey is one of the country’s largest producers of coal.
Hall alleges that since he started with the company in 2005, he has been harassed through taunts, and slurs written on his lunch bucket and locker. He says coworkers have also left a cardboard sign on his car reading “I like little boys.”
According to Hall, in suit filed earlier this month, he has become worried that these slurs have escalated to violent threats.
“He wants to be treated with decency so he can have a safe work site,” said Hall’s lawyer, Roger Forman, who filed the suit in the Kanawha County Circuit Court in Charleston, West Virginia.
Forman said coal mining is dangerous and miners need to work as a team.
“When you have people who are mocking someone, it’s a safety issue,” Forman told Reuters by phone.
A coworker was suspeneded for three days because of Hall’s complaints. Since filing suit, Hall has been transferred to another mine but says he still faces threats and harassment. Hall is seeking monetary damages and an end to the harassment.
Massey has responded and is investigating the allegations. The company’s general counsel Shane Harvey responded saying that “every miner deserves respect — without exception.”