(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, a complainant may institute an action against a respondent in the county wherein the respondent resides or transacts business at any time within ninety days after the complainant is given notice of a right to sue pursuant to this subsection or, if the statute of limitations on the claim has not expired at the end of such ninety-day period, then at any time during which such statute of limitations has not expired. If a suit is filed under this section the proceedings pending before the commission shall be deemed concluded.
The commission shall give a complainant who has filed a complaint a notice of a right to sue upon: (1) The dismissal of the complaint for any reason other than an adjudication of the merits of the case; or (2) the request of a complainant at any time after the timely filing of the complaint in any case which has not been determined on its merits or has not resulted in a conciliation agreement to which the complainant is a party. Upon the issuance of a right to sue letter pursuant to subdivision (1) or (2), the commission may dismiss the complaint.
Notice of right to sue shall be given immediately upon complainant being entitled thereto, by personal service or certified mail, return receipt requested, which notice shall inform the complainant in plain terms of his or her right to institute a civil action as provided in this section within ninety days of the giving of such notice. Service of the notice shall be complete upon mailing.
(c) In any action filed under this section, if the court finds that the respondent has engaged in or is engaging in an unlawful discriminatory practice charged in the complaint, the court shall enjoin the respondent from engaging in such unlawful discriminatory practice and order affirmative action which may include, but is not limited to, reinstatement or hiring of employees, granting of back pay or any other legal or equitable relief as the court deems appropriate. In actions brought under this section, the court in its discretion may award all or a portion of the costs of litigation, including reasonable attorney fees and witness fees, to the complainant.
(d) The provisions of this section shall be available to all complainants whose active cases are pending before the human rights commission as well as those complainants who file after the effective date of this section.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2012 1st Special Session