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Introduced Version House Bill 2557 History

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hb2557 intr
H. B. 2557


          (By Delegates Kump, Folk, Faircloth, Azinger
and Nelson, J,)

          [Introduced February 20, 2013; referred to the
Committee on Energy, Industry and Labor, Economic Development and Small Business then the Judiciary.]

A BILL to amend and reenact §6C-1-3, §6C-1-4 and §6C-1-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to whistle-blower law, protecting promotion or increase in compensation; allowing use of grievance procedure; protecting use of other right or legal action; and protecting rights related to political activity and membership in employee organizations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
     That §6C-1-3, §6C-1-4 and §6C-1-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1. WHISTLE-BLOWER LAW.
§6C-1-3. Discriminatory and retaliatory actions against whistle- blowers prohibited; promotion, increased compensation protected.
  (a) No employer may 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, acting on his or her own volition, or a person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the employee, makes a good faith report or is about to report, verbally or in writing, to the employer or appropriate authority an instance of wrongdoing or waste.
  (b) No employer may 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.
  (c) No employer may deny a whistle-blower a promotion or other increase in compensation that the whistle-blower otherwise would have received.
§6C-1-4. Civil action by whistle-blower for violation; limitation on actions; burden of proof; defense; use of evidence in civil service proceeding; grievance action available; other rights and actions not limited.
  (a) A person who alleges that he or she is a victim of a violation of this article may bring a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for appropriate injunctive relief or damages, or both, within one hundred eighty days after the occurrence of the alleged violation.
  (b) An employee alleging a violation of this article must show by a preponderance of the evidence that, prior to the alleged reprisal, the employee, or a person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the employee, had reported or was about to report in good faith, verbally or in writing, an instance of wrongdoing or waste to the employer or an appropriate authority.
  (c) It shall be a defense to an action under this section if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the action complained of occurred for separate and legitimate reasons, which are not merely pretexts.
  (d) An employee covered by the civil service system who contests a civil service action, believing it to be motivated by his the employee having made a disclosure of information may submit as admissible evidence any or all material relating to the action as whistle-blower and to the resulting alleged reprisal.
  (e) Any whistle-blower who feels he or she has suffered retaliatory action as a result of being a whistle-blower may pursue a grievance under the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Procedure.
__(f) Nothing in this chapter shall disparage, impair, or limit any other right or legal action of an employee.
§6C-1-7. Limitations on scope of construction; protections related to political activity and membership in organization of employees.
  
(a) The provisions of this article shall not be construed to require an employer to compensate an employee for participation in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or impair the rights of any person under a collective bargaining or other labor management agreement.
  (b) Except when on duty or acting in an official capacity and except where otherwise prohibited by state or federal law, no employee may be prohibited from engaging in political activity or be denied the right to refrain from engaging in political activity.
__(c) No employee may be denied the right to be a member of an organization of employees or to refrain from being a member of an organization of employees.

  

  NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to extend or clarify protections under the state's Whistle-Blower Law.

                       
  Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.
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