An employment lawsuit reported today in the CompNewsNetwork caught my eye for reasons you will soon appreciate. The lawsuit was filed by a Mingo County, West Virginia mine worker who claims that his foreman painted his genitals white after he complained of exposure to excessive amounts of coal dust while working. And the lawsuit claims he didn’t paint them once. No, he painted them twice. Apparently they needed a second coat.
Talk about a rough day at the orifice.
The complaint alleges that while working as a “roof bolter” at the Kielty Mine in Mingo County, the worker was “repeatedly required to work on the air return side of a continuous miner system that created coal dust.” He says in the suit that he felt compelled to complain about the situation to his foreman at the time.
The response was initially to just remove the man from his position as a roof bolter.
Apparently the man kept complaining about “excessive exposure” to coal dust. The foreman, now turned defendant, responded by spraying his employees “testicles with spray paint on two separate occasions,” according to the complaint.
Ok, you will understand that I have a few questions here.
For instance, how did the foreman gain access to said testicles? It’s not like those are something just left hanging around in the open on the job site, least of all when you are something called a “roof bolter”. Yowza.
Did the man just stand still for this testicular renovation? How did it happen twice? And what was the purpose of the testicle whitewash? Were we being vindictive, or merely concealing excessive coal dust? If the latter was the case, painting seems both extreme and obvious at the same time. It would seem much easier just to wash the poor mutt’s nuts.
Finding a volunteer for that might prove difficult, however.
This is important stuff, as the Mine Safety and Health Administration has very detailed guidelines and regulations to limit exposure to coal dust. I have no idea where the agency stands on painting a lad’s nads.
Maybe if he had kept his pants on, he wouldn’t have had so much trouble with coal dust in the first place.
As sad as it may seem, this is not the first time the sordid story lines of coal dust and testicles have crossed paths here on the Cluttered Desk. No, that ignominious occasion took place just last February, when I wrote the article “Chimneysweep Scrotum – The First Occupational Disease Ever Documented“. You can click on the title to read the entire story if you wish.
Personally I’m waiting for the movie to come out. I’m pretty sure it’ll be a musical.
The lawsuit also tells us that, after all this, the man was fired from his position. It states, “Within one month of Plaintiff’s complaints about being required to work in areas where he was exposed to amounts of coal dust in excess of what is allowed by Mine Safety and Health regulations, Plaintiff’s employment was willfully, wantonly, and egregiously terminated.” He is seeking lost pay, benefits, unspecified compensatory and punitive damages, as well as two gallons of paint remover.
We must remember, these allegations are merely that until the court case has had the opportunity to be fully heard. The details on this will eventually come out, and someone somewhere is gonna have some splainin’ to do. The testicle painting will need to be proven, and if so, justified with a pretty broad brush. They won’t be able to gloss it over with a satin veil, or they’ll come up flat (Home Depot paint guys will get that sentence).
In the end it just goes to prove that time honored adage, “If you’re going to complain about the workplace, keep your pants on”.