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Fired Harlan Co. miner will be paid

A Harlan County miner who alleged that a coal company fired him for reporting safety concerns will get paid while his case is considered.

Billy Brannon and Panther Mining LLC agreed the company would pay Brannon rather than put him back to work. That provision of the federal mine-safety law is called "economic temporary reinstatement."

The federal Department of Labor had sought an order for Brannon to go back to work for Panther, which fired him March 27.

Panther will pay Brannon $1,082 a week, based on the average number of hours he worked in the three months before he was fired, plus provide health insurance. Jacqueline R. Bullock, an administrative law judge, signed the order Thursday.

The order could stay in effect for a year or more, until a federal commission rules on Brannon's discrimination complaint against the company.

A Panther Mining official denied the company did anything wrong in firing Brannon.

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