Molly English-Bowers Mar. 22, 2016, 5:51pm

BENTON – A coal miner filed a class action alleging he and nearly 200 others only received a 24-hour notice of a mass layoff, which allegedly violates the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. 

Carl Leeper, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, filed the suit March 8 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against Alliance Resource Partners LP, Hamilton County Coal LLC and Doe Defendants 1-20.

This action arises out of the defendants' alleged failure to provide 60-day advance notice of the termination of nearly 200 employees as part of a mass layoff that occurred at the Hamilton County Coal Mine #1 on Feb. 5, violating the WARN Act, the suit says.

Instead, the laid-off workers received less than 24 hours' notice that the defendant was terminating their employment and that all benefits would cease as of the date of termination, according to the complaint. They also did not receive a severance, the suit says.

The plaintiff and class members were either full-time employees of the defendants or temporary employees, the suit states.

Prior to his termination, the plaintiff says he received pay, employee benefits such as health insurance, retirement, insurance, vacation days and monthly bonuses.

At the meeting when the plaintiff and class members received the termination notice, the general manager of the facility told them that they would have to reapply for employment at the mine, they would have to interview for positions, and that, upon reapplying, there was no guarantee of employment, the lawsuit alleges.

In addition to a trial by jury, the plaintiff seeks an order from the court certifying the suit as a class action and asks the court to declare that the defendants violated the WARN Act. He also asks that the class members receive unpaid wages and all other benefits to which they are entitled, pre- and post-judgment interest, attorney fees, court costs, and civil penalties the court may deem just.

The plaintiff is represented by Thomas P. Rosenfeld, Thomas J. Lech and Kevin P. Green of Goldenberg Heller & Antognoli PC in Edwardsville.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case number 16-cv-00250

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U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois East St. Louis
750 Missouri Ave
East St Louis, IL 62201

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