Ex-coal worker says she was fired over political contributions

A former Murray Energy foreperson has sued her former employer, saying she was fired because she did not contribute to Republican campaigns.

Jean Cochenour told a county court in West Virginia that, while working at the Marion County Mine, she received multiple letters from Murray Energy CEO Bob Murray requesting that she donate to specific GOP candidates, the Washington Postreported.


“Not only did Mr. Murray name candidates and specify the amount to be contributed to each candidate, but he also required that the political contributions be returned directly to him in a self-addressed envelope that he enclosed with each of his letters to her,” she said in her complaint.

Cochenour said she was “satisfactorily performing her duties” before she was called to meet with Murray personally, and was fired, according to the Post.

She said her firing was also due to gender discrimination, as she was the only woman preparation plant foreperson in the company.

Murray Energy said the lawsuit “is wholly without merit, and we will vigorously defend against her frivolous claims.”

Murray is a high-profile opponent of the Obama administration and many Democrats, and has fought against what he sees as Obama’s “war on coal.” His company has filed multiple lawsuits against Obama’s energy policies.

In 2012, Murray was accused of instructing miners at his company to leave work and attend a rally to support presidential candidate Mitt Romney (R).