What are my protections from retaliation and interference as a miner?
Federal law protects miners from retaliation for exercising their rights under the Mine Act. You may not be fired, demoted, harassed, intimated, transferred, refused employment, suffer any loss of wages, or discriminated against for exercising your rights. No person may interfere with your exercise of protected rights.
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When you contact DOL, all discussions with us, including complaints, are free and confidential. Your name and the nature of the complaint will not be disclosed to your employer. The only time we would share such information is when necessary to pursue an allegation, and we would only do so then with your permission, or if required by a court.
Who is protected?
Under the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, miners, representatives of miners, and applicants for employment are protected from retaliation and interference. All persons (including supervisors, contractors, construction or demolition workers, and truck drivers) working at a mine are considered to be “miners” and may exercise the rights given them by the Act.
Retaliation Protection as a Miner
You are protected from retaliation for your participation in certain protected safety activities, such as identifying hazards, asking for inspections, or refusing to engage in unsafe acts.
Interference Protection as a Miner
You are protected from interference with your exercise of certain protected safety activities, such as identifying hazards, asking for inspections, or refusing to engage in unsafe acts.
Section 105(c) of the Mine Act prohibits persons from discriminating against miners, applicants for employment, and representatives of miners for exercising statutory rights, especially those concerning safety or health activities. Statutory rights protected under the Mine Act are expansive. Miners, representatives of miners, and applicants for employment in a mine have the right to:
- Refuse to work if the miner has a good faith, reasonable belief that a specific working condition is unsafe or unhealthy.
- File or make a complaint under the Mine Act of a hazardous condition or a violation of the safety or health standards to a Federal or State agency, a mine operator, an operator’s agent, or a miners’ representative.
- Institute, testify, or assist in any proceeding conducted under the Mine Act.
- Have medical evaluations leading to a possible transfer to another job location because of harmful physical agents and toxic substances.
- Withdraw from the mine for not having the required safety and health training.
- Exercise any statutory rights afforded by the Mine Act.