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The lawsuit says the mining company laid off workers without the required 60-day notice.
Friday, July 19, 2013
Four men say a Roanoke-based mining company fired them without first giving a required 60-day notice designed to protect people from sudden job loss.
Michael Sullivan, David Sullivan, Thomas Robinette and Jeremy Pennington worked at the Wise County facility of Nine Mile Mining Inc. until terminated May 17, according to their lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Big Stone Gap.
Nine Mile fired the four men without cause and “without providing any of the mandatory advanced notice of the terminations” under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, the July 15 lawsuit said.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers sent notice of the case to the Roanoke office of Southern Coal Corp., which moved its headquarters to Roanoke in early 2012. It is a unit of West Virginia-based Justice Cos., headed by billionaire Jim Justice.
A.J. Dudley, general counsel of litigation and risk management at the Justice Cos., Thursday afternoon declined to comment. He said the company had not been served with the suit.
Attorney Paul Beers, who is representing the miners, asked the court to declare the case a class action in which the four men would pursue the case on behalf of themselves and all similarly affected ex-employees of Nine Mile. In all, Nine Mile terminated 150 people on May 17, the suit said.
The U.S. Department of Labor says on its website that the federal WARN Act “protects workers, their families, and communities by requiring most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs.”
Such notices, which are made public on the website of the Virginia Workforce Network, are primarily intended to give workers time to find new work or skills before job loss.
The suit seeks 60 days’ wages for the ex-Nine Mile workers and to have Nine Mile pay their legal bills.
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