West Virginia law protects employees from employer retaliation for many types of actions. Here is a short summary of some West Virginia anti-retaliation laws:
*Garnishment (W. Va. Code § 46A-2-131)
Employers may not discharge or take any other form of reprisal against employees because of garnishments or like proceedings directed to the employer for the purpose of paying a judgment arising from some consumer transaction.
*Jury duty (W. Va. Code § 52-3-1)
Employers may not discriminate against employees because they received, or were served with a summons for jury duty, or were absent from work to respond to a summons for jury duty or to serve on any jury in any state or federal court. A court may order the employer to cease and desist from this unlawful practice and order affirmative relief, including, but not limited to, reinstatement of the employee with or without back pay.
*Lie detector tests (W. Va. Code § 21-5-5B)
An employer may neither require nor request either directly or indirectly, that any employee or prospective employee of the employer submit to a polygraph test or similar test as a condition of employment. This test may not evaluate truthfulness, and no employer may knowingly allow the results of any examination administered outside West Virginia to be utilized for the purpose of determining whether to employ a prospective employee or to continue the employment of an employee in West Virginia.
*Safety (W. Va. Code § 21-3A-13)
No employer may discharge or in any manner discriminate against any employee because the employee files a complaint, testifies, or exercises any rights under or related to West Virginia’s Occupational Safety and Health Act. An employee who believes that he has been discharged or otherwise discriminated against by any person in violation of this law may, within thirty days after the alleged violation occurs, file a complaint. Such a process requires the assistance of an experienced West Virginia employment attorney.
*Cigarettes and other tobacco products (W. Va. Code § 21-3-19)
Employers are prohibited from refusing to hire any individual or to discharge any employee or otherwise to disadvantage or penalize any employee with respect to compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment solely because such individual uses tobacco products off the premises of the employer during nonworking hours.
*Wages (W. Va. Code § 21-5C-7(a))
Employers that willfully discharge or in any manner willfully discriminate against any employee because such employee has complained to his employer, or the State of West Virginia, that he or she has not been paid wages under § 21, is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, subject to a minimum fine of one hundred dollars and a maximum fine of five hundred dollars.
This same penalty applies if the employee has instituted or is about to institute any civil action, or file any petition or criminal complaint against the employer by reason of § 21, or because such employee has testified or is about to testify in any administrative proceeding, civil action, or criminal action under § 21.
*Whistle-Blowers (W. Va. Code § 6C-1-1 et seq)
West Virginia’s Whistle-blower Law prohibits public employers from taking adverse employment action against employees who report, or threaten to report, employer misconduct to some governing authority. Employers may not discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee by changing the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee is requested or subpoenaed by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or in a court action.
If you are an employee living in and around Huntington, or anywhere in West Virginia, and you believe that you may be or have been terminated as a result of employer retaliation for some legal and proper act, please call Amy Crossan, an expert in employment law, for a consultation at 304-523-8451.