Sam Hall, an openly gay coal miner in West Virginia, United States is suing his employer and alleging that co-workers in a number of mines have harassed him as a result of his sexuality.

Mr Hall says he was the victim of verbal abuse and lewd gestures by both co-workers and his own supervisors at the Spartan Mining Company, a subsidiary of the Massey Energy Company.

The Charleston Gazette reports that his law suit claims that “due to management’s participation and provocation, most of the pervasive ongoing harassment has been caused or encouraged.

Shane Harvey, representing the mining company said the conduct alleged by Mr Hall is “despicable” adding:
“They are serious allegations, and we take them seriously. We are going to investigate it, and if any of them are true, we are going to take action swiftly to remedy the situation.”

The abuse is claimed to have begun while Mr Hall was a trainee in 2005 and continued in four separate mines. At one, Mr Hall “became seriously worried because the harassing slurs accelerated to violent threats, such as ‘I would like to see all faggots die.'”

At another, a co-worked is claimed to have spray painted a picture onto Mr Hall’s car depicting him engaging in homosexual sex as well as attaching a sign that accused Mr Hall of being a paedophile.

Mr Hall had met with executives who promised to him that they would resolve the issue.