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Gay ex-miner manages ‘hate-free’ Dollar General

Charleston Gazette photo by F. Brian Ferguson Ex-coal miner Sam Hall, who sued the mine where he used to work after he said he was harassed for being gay, now manages the Dollar General store in Pinch, where he implemented a no-hate policy.
Charleston Gazette photo by F. Brian Ferguson
Ex-coal miner Sam Hall, who sued the mine where he used to work after he said he was harassed for being gay, now manages the Dollar General store in Pinch, where he implemented a no-hate policy.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Managing the Dollar General store in Pinch doesn’t pay as much as Sam Hall made while he was a coal miner.

“It’s OK” though, he said, “it pays the bills.”

Hall, who sued his former employer claiming supervisors didn’t stop miners from harassing him over being gay, now implements a no-hate policy at his workplace.

“So if anybody uses any kind of derogatory language, in any shape or form, I put them out of the store and say, ‘Don’t come back,’ ” Hall, 32, said.

While he was a miner, things were different, he said.

In his 2010 lawsuit, he described facing homophobic taunts, threats of violence and vandalism to his car at the mine. He had worked for Mammoth Coal, a Massey Energy subsidiary, for about seven years before filing suit.

The company and Hall entered into a confidential agreement in 2012. He’s worked for Dollar General for about two years and managed the store in Pinch for about a year and a half.

After filing the lawsuit against the mine, he began working with the group Fairness West Virginia, advocating for a bill that would make it illegal to discriminate against someone in housing or employment based on their sexual orientation.

This year, because same-sex marriage is now legal in West Virginia, Hall is optimistic it will pass.

Hall said he was surprised last month when he heard that state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey would no longer defend the state’s ban on gay marriage. Morrisey’s hand was forced after the U.S. Supreme Court had refused to hear an appeal when a similar ban was declared unconstitutional in Virginia.

That effectively made gay marriage legal in the Mountain State.

Hall was at work when he heard the news. He had married his partner, Burley Williams, six years ago in Washington, D.C…

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