(A) 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 the 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 this chapter.
(B) Any employee or representative of employees who believes that the employee or representative has been fired or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of division (A) of this section may, within thirty days after the alleged violation occurs, apply to the chief of the division of mineral resources management for a review of the 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 the application, the chief shall cause such investigation to be made as the chief considers appropriate. The investigation shall provide an opportunity for a public hearing at the request of any party to the 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. Upon receiving the report of the investigation the chief shall make findings of fact. If the chief finds that a violation did occur, the chief shall issue a decision incorporating therein the chief's findings and an order requiring the party committing the violation to take such affirmative action to abate the violation as the chief considers appropriate, including, but not limited to, the rehiring or reinstatement of the employee or representative of employees to the employee's or representative's former position with compensation. If the chief finds that there was no violation, the chief shall issue a finding to that effect. Orders issued by the chief under this division shall be subject to judicial review in the same manner as orders and decisions of the chief 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 attorney's fees, determined to have been necessary and 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 and may be awarded in accordance with division (E) of section 1513.13 of the Revised Code.
Effective Date: 06-14-2000