Employee Wage Dispute Claims in West Virginia
Did you know that more than three-quarters of all hourly wage workers are not paid legally required overtime? If you have worked more than 40 hours in a one-week period, and have not been paid the legally required time-and-a-half according to West Virginia law, you may be entitled to recover the unpaid overtime. This may include the time that is spent working when you are legally entitled to a meal break, sick leave, holiday pay and more. In fact, in West Virginia, any of the following situations may result in the legal ability to extract unpaid wages:
- Unauthorized wage deductions
- A construction project wage that deviates from legal prevailing wage
- Failure to pay for mandatory training or meetings
- Payment checks that cannot be cashed due to insufficient funds
- Failure to pay for non-commuting travel
- Failure to pay final wages
- Failure to pay commissions
- Failure to provide proper legal notice for reduction of hourly pay
- Failure to provide legal fringe benefits, such as holiday pay, sick leave, bonus pay, parental leave, paid time off, legally required meal breaks, etc.
- Failure to provide check stubs
- Failure to pay at least every two weeks
- Improper Classification
One of the ways that employers may attempt to steal wages is by incorrectly classifying workers as an independent contractor, a seasonal worker, or a temporary contractor. The United States Department of Labor suggests that misclassification is one of the most serious problems that workers in the entire country face today, including West Virginia. This issue means that workers don’t, at first glance, have the proper paper trail necessary to dispute wage discrepancies, and can make it harder for them to receive the proper fringe benefits.
According to West Virginia law, the working relationship between the employer and the employee will dictate the type of employment. This means that if a worker can prove that they are not seasonal or temporary, or can show a job contract that does not specify their role as an independent contractor, they may be entitled to dispute wage complaints, despite the employer’s classification of their position.
Unacceptable Wage Claims
Before you reach out to the West Virginia Division of Labor to being the wage claim process, you may wish to understand what is not an acceptable wage claim. The Division does not accept wage claims for the following situations:
- Failure to provide notice before termination
- An employer with bankruptcy protection
- Workplace discrimination or harassment
- Being denied working hours after giving final notice
- Complaints specifically related to violations of the Federal Family Medical Leave Act
- Complaints specifically related to violations of federal law, such as the Fair Labor Standards Act or Federal COBRA
- Claims for liquidated damages
- Claims filed by independent contractors
- Claims which have already been filed in magistrate court, or claims for which the employee has already hired an attorney
- Failure to receive a W-2 form
- Black lung payments
- Factory closings
- Issues relating to drug testing
- Failure to re-hire after lay-offs
- Seniority rights
- Unemployment or worker’s compensation issues
- Wage claims from employees of the federal government in West Virginia
- Issues relating to immigrant or non-immigrant work permits
- In these or other specific cases, the West Virginia Division of Labor will not investigate.
- Important Facts to Know
- When you file a wage claim in West Virginia, there are a few specific numbers or facts to be aware of, including:
- West Virginia currently requires that all employers provide a twenty-minute break within any six-hour working shift.
- As of January 1, 2016, minimum wage in West Virginia is $8.75 per hour.
- Employees under the age of 20 may be paid a lower amount of “training wages” for no more than 90 days.
Tipped employees must be paid no less than 80% of minimum wage, and their pay must make up minimum wage in addition to their tips. This means that if a tipped employee’s tips only total 5% of minimum wage, their pay must be 95% of the minimum wage; and regardless of their tips earned, their pay must be no less than 80% of minimum wage.
These wage laws apply to any employer who employs more than six employees in any separate, distinct and permanent location.
All claims for unpaid wages must be filed within two years of the violation.