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      RS 30:928     


§928.  Employee protection

A.  After the state has assumed exclusive jurisdiction of surface coal mining operations as provided in section 503 of Public Law 95-87,1 and as long as the state retains such jurisdiction, then, no person shall discharge, or in any other way discriminate against, or cause to be fired or discriminated against, any employee or any authorized representative of employees by reason of the fact that such employee or representative has filed, instituted, or caused to be filed or instituted any proceeding under this Chapter, or has testified or is about to testify in any proceeding resulting from the administration or enforcement of the provisions of this Chapter.

B.  Any employee or a representative of employees who believes that he has been fired or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of Subsection A of this Section may, within thirty days after such alleged violation occurs, apply to the commissioner for a review of such firing or alleged discrimination.  A copy of the application shall be sent to the person or operator who will be the respondent.  Upon receipt of such application, the commissioner shall cause such investigation to be made as he deems appropriate.  Such investigation shall provide an opportunity for a public hearing at the request of any party to such review to enable the parties to present information relating to the alleged violation.  The parties shall be given written notice of the time and place of the hearing at least five days prior to the hearing.  Any such hearing shall be of record and shall be subject to the Louisiana Administrative Procedure Act.  Upon receiving the report of such investigation the commissioner shall make findings of fact.  If he finds that a violation did occur, he shall issue a decision incorporating therein his findings and an order requiring the party committing the violation to take such affirmative action to abate the violation as the commissioner deems appropriate, including, but not limited to, the rehiring or reinstatement of the employee or representative of employees to his former position with compensation.  If he finds that there was no violation, he will issue a finding.  Orders issued by the commissioner under this Subsection shall be subject to judicial review in the same manner as orders and decisions of the commissioner are subject to judicial review under this Chapter.

C.  Whenever an order is issued under this Section to abate any violation, at the request of the applicant a sum equal to the aggregate amount of all costs and expenses (including attorneys' fees) to have been reasonably incurred by the applicant for, or in connection with, the institution and prosecution of such proceedings, shall be assessed against the persons committing the violation.

D.  This Section shall not be given effect (1) if the Secretary of the Interior does not require the inclusion of similar provisions in state laws as a condition for approval by the Secretary of the Interior of state programs of regulation of surface coal mining and reclamation operations pursuant to Section 503 of Public Law 95-871 or (2) if any such requirement of the Secretary of the Interior is declared invalid by final decree of a court of competent jurisdiction: Provided, that if similar provisions are required by the Secretary of the Interior to be included in state laws, the Secretary of Natural Resources and the commissioner may commence and prosecute an action in the appropriate federal court to have the regulation requiring inclusion declared invalid.

Added by Acts 1978, No. 406, §1.

130 U.S.C.A. §1253.

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