Tag Archives: West Virginia

West Virginia Will Allow Employees To Carry Guns in their Vehicles

On March 21, 2018, West Virginia passed the Business Liability Protection Act (Act) which will limit the ability of an employer to prohibit an employee or customer from lawfully possessing a firearm locked in the individual’s personal vehicle located in a company parking lot.  Prior to passage of this law, employers and property owners in West Virginia could prohibit the carrying or concealing of firearms on any property under his or her domain.  This law creates an exception to those rights.  Employers should begin preparations to comply with this law which will take effect June 8, 2018.

What the New Law Does

Beginning June 8, 2018 West Virginia employers may not:

  • Prohibit any customer, employee or another person lawfully on the premises from storing a lawfully possessed firearm inside of a privately-owned vehicle in a company parking lot as long the firearm is out of view and locked inside the vehicle;
  • Ask employees or customers about the presence of a firearm locked inside a vehicle in a company parking lot;
  • Perform an actual search for a firearm within a vehicle in a company parking lot; or
  • Condition employment on an employee’s agreement not to keep a firearm locked inside his or her vehicle or concealed carry license status.

Additional facts

This law will only apply to privately-owned vehicles and will not affect an employer’s ability to prohibit firearms inside company-owned, rented, or leased vehicles.  Additionally, the law does not limit an employer’s ability to prohibit firearms in other areas of the employer’s premises.  Employers who comply with the law are also protected from any civil lawsuits arising out of their actions or inactions taken in order to comply with the law (e.g., an employer will not be civilly liable if a shooting occurs because an employee lawfully possessed a firearm in his or her personal vehicle).  Similarly, the law does not create any new obligations or expand on an employer’s existing duty to provide a safe workplace. Continue reading West Virginia Will Allow Employees To Carry Guns in their Vehicles

NEW LAW – West Virginia Extends Protections to Members of the State Wing of the Civil Air Patrol

Earlier this year, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice, Jr. signed Senate Bill 280 into law. This new law, which went into effect on July 1, 2017 provides new protections to West Virginia employees who are active members of the state wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

This new law makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against or discharge from employment an employee who has been employed for a minimum of ninety days and is a member of the Civil Air Patrol because of membership in the Civil Air Patrol.

In addition, this new law requires employers to provide these employees with Civil Air Patrol Leave as follows:

  • A maximum of ten days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee training for an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.
  • A maximum of thirty days per calendar year of unpaid Civil Air Patrol leave to an employee responding to an emergency mission of the West Virginia wing of the Civil Air Patrol.

To receive this leave, employees must provide the employer with advanced notice of their need for leave as follows:

  • Training Leave – Employees must provide at least fourteen days’ notice of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete training.
  • Emergency Mission Leave — Employees must provide as much notice as possible of the intended dates of the beginning and end of leave together with an estimate of the amount of time needed to complete an emergency mission.

When the employee returns to work, the employee must be reinstated to the position held when the leave began or to a position with equivalent seniority status, benefits, pay and conditions of employment.

NEW LAW – West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act

West Virginia employers – medical marijuana is now legal in West Virginia.

Under the newly enacted West Virginia Medical Cannabis Act, patients suffering from serious medical conditions (including cancer, ALS, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, epilepsy, neuropathies, Huntington’s disease, Crohn’s disease, post-traumatic stress disorder, intractable seizures, sickle cell anemia, severe chronic or intractable pain, or certain spinal cord damage) are permitted to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Under the new law, employers are not required to accommodate the use of marijuana at work, and may discipline employees who are “under the influence” of marijuana at work. however, the new law does contain a broad anti-discrimination provision that prohibits employers from “discharging, threatening, refusing to hire or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee regarding an employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges solely on the basis of such employee’s status as an individual who is certified to use medical cannabis.”

Despite this “anti-discrimination provision,” the law prohibits medical marijuana patients employed in certain “safety sensitive positions” from doing the following when under the influence of medical marijuana:

  • Operating or being in physical control of any of the following:
    • chemicals which require a permit issued by the federal government, state government, federal agency or state agency;
    • high-voltage electricity or any other public utility;
    • vehicle, aircraft, train, boat or heavy machinery;
  • Performing any employment duties at heights or in confined spaces, including, but not limited to, mining
  • Performing any duty which could result in a public health or safety risk

Recommendations

It is recommended that West Virginia employers review their drug and alcohol policies and consult with an HR Professional or qualified employment attorney to determine if their policies are compliant with the new law.

West Virginia Releases New Human Rights Act Notice

The West Virginia Human Rights Commission recently released a new Human Rights Act Notice which West Virginia employers are required to post in a prominent location in the workplace. It is recommended that West Virginia employers review their current Human Rights Act posting and verify that their posting is up-to-date.

It’s Official — West Virginia Is The 26th Right To Work State

Earlier this month, we informed West Virginia employers that there was legislation pending (the Workplace Freedom Act) to make West Virginia a Right to Work State.

On February 12, 2016, the Workplace Freedom Act was passed into law and will go into effect on July 1, 2016. With this new law, West Virginia will join the other right-to-work states — Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

What does this mean for West Virginia employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Currently, under West Virginia law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

Therefore, effective July 1, 2016, employees in West Virginia cannot be required to join a union or pay union dues as a condition of employment.

Proposed Law Will Make West Virginia The 26th Right To Work State

On January 21, 2016, the West Virginia Senate passed Senate Bill No. 1, the Workplace Freedom Act, which is a “right to work” law. The bill now moves onto the West Virginia House of Delegates for consideration. If the proposed Workplace Freedom Act is passed by the House of Delegates, which is anticipated, it will go before the governor for approval. If this bill passes into law, then West Virginia will become the Nation’s 26th Right to Work State.

What does this mean for West Virginia employers?

A Right-to-Work law exempts a worker from the current legal requirement to pay dues to a union as a condition of employment. Currently, under West Virginia law, if a workplace has a union, then all employees must join the union (if they are not already members) as a condition of employment and must remain members of the union in order to remain employed. In other words, union membership is a condition of employment.

In a Right to Work State, a union can still be established in a workplace if a majority of the employees agree to union representation; and, once established, the union then acts as a representative of all employees. The major difference is that union membership is not a condition of employment. In other words, employees do not have to join the union (or pay union dues) in order to work for the Company.

At the present time, this bill has not been passed by the West Virginia legislature. We will provide updates regarding this law as the need arises.

Increases to State Minimum Wage in 2016 – Is Your Company Affected?

With the start of 2016 just over two months away, employers in several states must begin preparing for the increase to minimum wage that will accompany the ringing in of the New Year.   Check the list below to see if minimum wage is increasing in your state …

Increase effective December 31, 2015

  • New York — Minimum wage increases to $9.00 per hour
  • West Virginia — Minimum wage increases to $8.75 per hour

Increase effective January 1, 2016

  • Alaska — Minimum wage increases to $9.75 per hour
  • Arkansas — Minimum wage increases to $8.00 per hour
  • California — Minimum wage increases to $10.00 per hour
  • Connecticut — Minimum wage increases to $9.60 per hour
  • Massachusetts — Minimum wage increases to $10.00 per hour ($3.35 per hour for tipped employees)
  • Michigan — Minimum wage increases to $8.50 per hour
  • Nebraska — Minimum wage increases to $9.00 per hour
  • Vermont — Minimum wage increases to $9.60 per hour

 

 

 

 

New Final Wage Law in West Virginia

West Virginia’s Wage Payment and Collection Act (“WPCA”) now requires employers to  pay a terminated employee all wages due by the next regular paydayPreviously, the WPCA allowed employers to pay final wages the earlier of the next regular payday or within four business days.

“Wages” include accrued fringe benefits that are capable of calculation and payable directly to an employee. Fringe benefits to be paid at a future date in accordance with the terms of an agreement between an employer and an employee should be paid in accordance with the terms of the agreement.

The wages may be paid by mail at the employee’s request. The WPCA’s rules regarding  payment to employees who quit or resign have not been changed by the recent amendment.