The U.S. Court of Appeals for th 10th Circuit has rejected an appeal by Cordero Mining, LLC, of Gillette, for worker discrimination.
According to a media release from the U.S. Department of Labor, Cindy L. Clapp, a shovel operator for 28 years, complained to the Department of Labor's Mine Safety and Health Commission that she was fired after she made several safety complaints. She further argued her dismissal had a chilling effect on other miners' ability to point out safety concerns.
The court further affirmed a 2011 decision by the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission, ordering Cordero to reinstate the employee, pay lost wages and benefits, and pay a civil penalty of $40,000. It was determined then that Cordero was, in fact, acting in retaliation, which is a direct violation of the Federal Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977.
The ruling has been hailed as a victory for mine workers' rights, but Cordero has until the end of the year to petition the court for a rehearing.