Workers’ Rights

"I had been working to pursue my black lung claim for nearly a year when I contacted Mountain State Justice. After Mountain State Justice began representing me, I heard from the Department of Labor and my claim was approved way before I ever thought it would be, providing me with healthcare and stable income into the future." — James "Ham" Elkins, Jr., Mullens, WV
We fight side by side with West Virginia’s workers to ensure that West Virginians can work without fear for their safety, health, or violations of their rights.

When West Virginians demand safety at work, we are ready to assist by providing legal representation. Miners and their families know that they cannot rely on coal operators or mine inspectors alone to guarantee their safety and health at work—not after so many recent disasters and preventable fatalities, injuries, and illnesses.  All miners have a right to refuse to work in unsafe or unhealthy conditions, and to file complaints about those conditions.  Mine operators are legally prohibited from threatening or retaliating against miners for exercising their rights.  Any miner, miners’ rep, or applicant for employment who suffers threats or retaliation may file a complaint with MSHA, and obtain a fast-tracked hearing before a federal administrative law judge to prevent the threats, and be restored to his or her old job and pay.  Mountain State Justice provides representation to miners and other workers who have been retaliated against for raising safety concerns.  We also represent coal miners and survivors in securing black lung benefits,when those benefits are being wrongfully challenged by the operators.

We also work to address systemic injustice in the workplace through class actions and impact litigation, and by assisting cooperative associations to improve and support their communities.

MSHA Guide to Using Your Miner’s Rights.

MSHA Guide to Serving As a Miners’ Representative at Your Mine.