The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
6-11-09

BROOKS RUN MINING CO. AND NEAL & ASSOCIATES SETTLE EEOC SEX DISCRIMINATION SUIT FOR $115,000

Women Security Officers Laid Off and Transferred to Punish Them for Reporting Abuse, Federal Agency Charged

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Brooks Run Mining Company and staffing firm Neal & Associates will pay $115,000 to settle a sex-based discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency announced today.

In its lawsuit, the EEOC had charged that women security guards as a class were discriminated against because of their sex. The EEOC asserted that once the women complained about sexual harassment, they were prevented – either by layoffs or transfers – from working at the Brooks Run Cucumber mine site, although security jobs were available to men.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia (Case No. 5:08-cv-0071) after first attempting to reach a voluntary settlement.

“Too often, women working in non-traditional fields suffer this kind of discrimination,” said EEOC Acting Chairman Stuart J. Ishimaru. “The EEOC will fight to protect the rights of all workers to be free from discrimination based on gender and free from retribution for asserting that right.”

The three-year consent decree settling the suit provides for a monetary settlement to three women, all former security guards at the Cucumber mine site. In addition to monetary relief, the decree provides for significant remedial relief, including promoting supervisor accountability. The settlement also requires yearly training for all management staff on employee rights and employer obligations under federal and state anti-discrimination laws, with an emphasis on sex discrimination.

“West Virginia employers need to be vigilant in protecting workers who have the courage to speak out against discriminatory acts such as those alleged in this suit,” said EEOC Acting Regional Attorney Debra Lawrence. “The EEOC is determined to protect the civil rights of all workers, and that includes protecting their right to protest illegal mistreatment.”

According to company information, Neal & Associates provides security guard services for construction and mine sites in West Virginia and Virginia. Brooks Run Mining Company, LLC, is a division of Alpha Natural Resources, a leading supplier of Appalachian coal to the utility and steel industries.

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.

This page was last modified on June 11, 2009.

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