Administrative Law Judge Margaret A. Miller ruled that Cumberland River Coal Company improperly fired 52-year-old Charles Scott Howard of Letcher County after he was injured on the job. The judge ordered Howard reinstated and says the company must pay a $30,000 fine.
Howard challenged his dismissal, which took place in May of 2011. He charged that Cumberland River Coal and its parent company, Arch Coal, dismissed him because he has publicized safety issues in the mines. Cumberland Coal and Arch Coal have both denied that allegation in court filings.
Howard has a history of whistleblowing activities involving coal mines. He has been reinstated to his job at least two other times.