As used in this article:
(a) The term "firm" includes any partnership, association, joint-stock company, trust, division of a corporation, the administrator or executor of the estate of a deceased individual, or the receiver, trustee, or successor of any of the same, or officer thereof, employing any person.
(b) The term "employee" or "employees" includes any person suffered or permitted to work by a person, firm or corporation.
(c) The term "wages" means compensation for labor or services rendered by an employee, whether the amount is determined on a time, task, piece, commission or other basis of calculation. As used in sections four, five, eight-a, ten and twelve of this article, the term "wages" shall also include then accrued fringe benefits capable of calculation and payable directly to an employee: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall require fringe benefits to be calculated contrary to any agreement between an employer and his employees which does not contradict the provisions of this article.
(d) The term "commissioner" means commissioner of labor or his designated representative.
(e) The term "railroad company" includes any firm or corporation engaged primarily in the business of transportation by rail.
(f) The term "special agreement" means an arrangement filed with and approved by the commissioner whereby a person, firm or corporation is permitted upon a compelling showing of good cause to establish regular paydays less frequently than once in every two weeks: Provided, That in no event shall the employee be paid in full less frequently than once each calendar month on a regularly established schedule.
(g) The term "deductions" includes amounts required by law to be withheld, and amounts authorized for union or club dues, pension plans, payroll savings plans, credit unions, charities and hospitalization and medical insurance.
(h) The term "officer" shall include officers or agents in the management of a corporation or firm, who knowingly permit the corporation or firm to violate the provisions of this article.
(i) The term "wages due" shall include at least all wages earned up to and including the fifth day immediately preceding the regular payday.
(j) The term "construction" means the furnishing of work in the fulfillment of a contract for the construction, alteration, decoration, painting or improvement of a new or existing building, structure, roadway or pipeline, or any part thereof, or for the alteration, improvement or development of real property: Provided, That construction performed for the owner or lessee of a single family dwelling or a family farming enterprise is excluded.
(k) The term "minerals" means clay, coal, flagstone, gravel, limestone, manganese, sand, sandstone, shale, iron ore and any other metallurgical ore.
(l) The term "fringe benefits" means any benefit provided an employee or group of employees by an employer, or which is required by law, and includes regular vacation, graduated vacation, floating vacation, holidays, sick leave, personal leave, production incentive bonuses, sickness and accident benefits and benefits relating to medical and pension coverage.
(m) The term "employer" means any person, firm or corporation employing any employee.
(n) The term "doing business in this state" means having employees actively engaged in the intended principal activity of the person, firm or corporation in West Virginia.
It shall not be lawful for any railroad company to enter into or make any agreement with any employee for the payment of wages of any such employee otherwise than as provided in this section, except to pay such wages at shorter intervals than herein provided. Every agreement made in violation of this section shall be deemed to be null and void.
(b) Payment required in subsection (a) of this section shall be made:
(1) In lawful money of the United States;
(2) By cash order as described and required in section four of this article;
(3) By deposit or electronic transfer of immediately available funds into an employee's payroll card account in a federally insured depository institution. The term "payroll card account" means an account in a federally insured depository institution that is directly or indirectly established through an employer and to which electronic fund transfers of the employee's wages, salary, commissions or other compensation are made on a recurring basis, whether the account is operated or managed by the employer, a third-party payroll processor, a depository institution or another person. "Payroll card" means a card, code or combination thereof or other means of access to an employee's payroll card account, by which the employee may initiate electronic fund transfers or use a payroll card to make purchases or payments. Payment of employee compensation by means of a payroll card must be agreed upon in writing by both the person, form or corporation paying the compensation and the person being compensated.
(4) By any method of depositing immediately available funds in an employee's demand or time account in a bank, credit union or savings and loan institution that may be agreed upon in writing between the employee and such person, firm or corporation, which agreement shall specifically identify the employee, the financial institution, the type of account and the account number: Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be construed in a manner to require any person, firm or corporation to pay employees by depositing funds in a financial institution.
(c) If, at any time of payment, any employee shall be absent from his or her regular place of labor and shall not receive his or her wages through a duly authorized representative, he or she shall be entitled to payment at any time thereafter upon demand upon the proper paymaster at the place where his or her wages are usually paid and where the next pay is due.
(d) Nothing herein contained shall affect the right of an employee to assign part of his or her claim against his or her employer except as in subsection (e) of this section.
(e) No assignment of or order for future wages shall be valid for a period exceeding one year from the date of the assignment or order. An assignment or order shall be acknowledged by the party making the same before a notary public or other officer authorized to take acknowledgments, and any order or assignment shall specify thereon the total amount due and collectible by virtue of the same and three fourths of the periodical earnings or wages of the assignor shall at all times be exempt from such assignment or order and no assignment or order shall be valid which does not so state upon its face: Provided, That no such order or assignment shall be valid unless the written acceptance of the employer of the assignor to the making thereof, is endorsed thereon: Provided, however, That nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting the right of employer and employees to agree between themselves as to deductions to be made from the payroll of employees.
(a) In lieu of lawful money of the United States, any person, firm or corporation may compensate employees for services by cash order which may include checks or money orders on banks convenient to the place of employment where suitable arrangements have been made for the cashing of the checks by employees for the full amount of wages.
(b) Whenever a person, firm or corporation discharges an employee, the person, firm or corporation shall pay the employee's wages in full no later than the next regular payday or four business days, whichever comes first. Payment shall be made through the regular pay channels or, if requested by the employee, by mail. For purposes of this section, "business day" means any day other than Saturday, Sunday or any legal holiday as set forth in section one, article two, chapter two of this code.
(c) Whenever an employee quits or resigns, the person, firm or corporation shall pay the employee's wages in full no later than the next regular payday. Payment shall be made through the regular pay channels or, if requested by the employee, by mail. However, if the employee gives at least one pay period's written notice of intention to quit, the person, firm or corporation shall pay all wages earned by the employee at the time of quitting.
(d) When work of any employee is suspended as a result of a labor dispute, or when an employee for any reason whatsoever is laid off, the person, firm or corporation shall pay in full to the employee not later than the next regular payday, either through the regular pay channels or by mail if requested by the employee, wages earned at the time of suspension or layoff.
(e) If a person, firm or corporation fails to pay an employee wages as required under this section, the person, firm or corporation, in addition to the amount which was unpaid when due, is liable to the employee for three times that unpaid amount as liquidated damages. Every employee shall have a lien and all other rights and remedies for the protection and enforcement of his or her salary or wages, as he or she would have been entitled to had he or she rendered service therefor in the manner as last employed; except that, for the purpose of liquidated damages, the failure shall not be deemed to continue after the date of the filing of a petition in bankruptcy with respect to the employer if he or she is adjudicated bankrupt upon the petition.
(1) "Employer" means any individual, person, corporation, department, board, bureau, agency, commission, division, office, company, firm, partnership, council or committee of the state government; public benefit corporation, public authority or political subdivision of the state; or other business entity, which employs or seeks to employ an individual or individuals. All provisions of sections five-b, five-c and five-d of this article pertaining to employers shall apply in equal force and effect to their agents and representatives.
(2) "Employee" means an individual employed by an employer.
(3) "Psychophysiological detection of deception instrument" means an instrument used for the detection of deception which records permanently and simultaneously a person's cardiovascular and respiratory patterns and galvanic skin response: Provided, That the instrument may record other physiological changes pertinent to the detection of deception.
(4) "Prospective employee" means an individual seeking or being sought for employment with an employer.
(5) "Psychophysiological detection of deception" means an examination which records permanently and simultaneously a person's cardiovascular and respiratory patterns and galvanic skin response.
(b) A person is qualified to receive a license as an examiner if he or she:
(1) Is at least twenty-one years of age;
(2) Is a citizen of the United States;
(3) Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude or a felony;
(4) Has not been released or discharged with other than honorable conditions from any of the armed services of the United States or that of any other nation;
(5) Has passed an examination conducted by the commissioner of labor or under his or her supervision, to determine his or her competency to obtain a license to practice as an examiner;
(6) Has satisfactorily completed not less than six months of internship training; and
(7) Has met any other qualifications of education or training established by the commissioner of labor in his or her sole discretion which qualifications are to be at least as stringent as those recommended by the American polygraph association.
(c) The commissioner of labor may designate and administer any test the commissioner considers appropriate to those persons applying for a license to administer psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examination. The test shall be designed to ensure that the applicant is thoroughly familiar with the code of ethics of the American polygraph association and has been trained in accordance with association rules. The test must also include a rigorous examination of the applicant's knowledge of and familiarity with all aspects of operating psychophysiological detection of deception equipment and administering psychophysiological detection of deception examinations.
(d) The license to administer psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examinations to any person shall be issued for a period of one year. It may be reissued from year to year. The licenses to be issued are:
(1) "Class I license" which authorizes an individual to administer psychophysiological detection of deception examinations for all purposes which are permissible under the provisions of this article and other applicable laws and rules.
(2) "Class II license" which authorizes an individual who is a full-time employee of a law-enforcement agency to administer psychophysiological detection of deception examinations to its employees or prospective employees only.
(e) The commissioner of labor shall charge a fee to be established by legislative rule. The fees shall be deposited in the general revenue fund of the state. In addition to any other information required, an application for a license shall include the applicant's social security number.
(f) The commissioner of labor shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code governing the administration of psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examination to any person: Provided, That all applicable rules in effect on the effective date of sections five-a, five-b, five-c and five-d of this article will remain in effect until amended, withdrawn, revoked, repealed or replaced. The legislative rules shall include:
(1) The type and amount of training or schooling necessary for a person before which he or she may be licensed to administer or interpret a psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examination;
(2) Testing requirements including the designation of the test to be administered to persons applying for licensure;
(3) Standards of accuracy which shall be met by machines or other devices to be used in psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examination;
(4) The conditions under which a psychophysiological detection of deception, lie detector or similar examination may be administered;
(5) Fees for licenses, renewals of licenses and other services provided by the commissioner;
(6) Any other qualifications or requirements, including continuing education, established by the commissioner for the issuance or renewal of licenses; and
(7) Any other purpose to carry out the requirements of sections five-a, five-b, five-c and five-d of this article.
(b) Any person who violates section five-b of this article is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than five hundred dollars.
(c) Any employee or prospective employee has a right to sue an employer or prospective employer for a violation of the provisions of section five-b of this article. If successful, the employee or prospective employee shall recover threefold the damages sustained by him or her, together with reasonable attorneys' fees, filing fees and reasonable costs of the action. Reasonable costs of the action may include, but shall not be limited to, the expenses of discovery and document reproduction. Damages may include, but shall not be limited to, back pay for the period during which the employee did not work or was denied a job.
In the event of the death of any employee, wages due him by a person, firm or corporation not in excess of eight hundred dollars may upon proper demand be paid, in the absence of actual notice of the pendency of probate proceedings, without requiring letters testamentary or of administration in the following order of preference to decedent's: (1) Surviving spouse, (2) children eighteen years of age and over in equal shares, (3) father and mother, or survivor, (4) sisters and brothers, or to the person who pays the funeral expenses. Payments under this section shall release and discharge the person, firm or corporation to the amount of such payment.
(1) Notify his employees in writing, at the time of hiring of the rate of pay, and of the day, hour, and place of payment.
(2) Notify his employees in writing, or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to his employees of any changes in the arrangements specified above prior to the time of such changes.
(3) Make available to his employees in writing or through a posted notice maintained in a place accessible to his employees, employment practices and policies with regard to vacation pay, sick leave, and comparable matters.
(4) Furnish each employee with an itemized statement of deductions made from his wages for each pay period such deductions are made.
(5) Keep posted in a place accessible to his employees an abstract of this article furnished by the commissioner, and
(6) Make such records of the persons employed by him, including wage and hour records, preserve such records for such periods of time, and make such reports therefrom to the commissioner, as the commissioner shall prescribe by regulation as necessary or appropriate for the enforcement of the provisions of this article.
(b) The commissioner or his authorized representatives shall have power to administer oaths and examine witnesses under oath, issue subpoenas, compel the attendance of witnesses, and the production of papers, books, accounts, records, payrolls, documents and testimony, and to take depositions and affidavits in any proceeding before said commissioner.
(c) In case of failure of any person to comply with any subpoena lawfully issued, or on the refusal of any witness to testify to any matter regarding which he may be lawfully interrogated, it shall be the duty of the circuit court, on application by the commissioner, to compel obedience by attachment proceedings for contempt, as in the case of disobedience of the requirements of a subpoena issued from such court or a refusal to testify therein.
(b) The court in any action brought under this article may, in the event that any judgment is awarded to the plaintiff or plaintiffs, assess costs of the action, including reasonable attorney fees against the defendant. Such attorney fees in the case of actions brought under this section by the commissioner shall be remitted by the commissioner to the treasurer of the state. The commissioner shall not be required to pay the filing fee or other costs or fees of any nature or to file bond or other security of any nature in connection with such action or with proceedings supplementary thereto, or as a condition precedent to the availability to the commissioner of any process in aid of such action or proceedings. The commissioner shall have power to join various claimants in one claim or lien, and in case of suit to join them in one cause of action.
(a) Bond required. -- With the exception of those who have been doing business in this state actively and actually engaged in construction work, or the severance, production or transportation of minerals for at least five consecutive years next preceding the posting of the bond required by this section, every employer, person, firm or corporation engaged in or about to engage in construction work, or the severance, production or transportation (excluding railroads and water transporters) of minerals, shall, prior to engaging in any construction work, or the severance, production or transportation of minerals, furnish a bond on a form prescribed by the commissioner, payable to the state of West Virginia, with the condition that the person, firm or corporation pay the wages and fringe benefits of his or its employees when due. The amount of the bond shall be equal to the total of the employer's gross payroll for four weeks at full capacity or production, plus fifteen percent of the said total of employer's gross payroll for four weeks at full capacity or production. The amount of the bond shall increase or decrease as the employer's payroll increases or decreases: Provided, That the amount of the bond shall not be decreased, except with the commissioner's approval and determination that there are not outstanding claims against the bond.
(b) Waiver. -- The commissioner shall waive the posting of any bond required by subsection (a) of this section upon his determination that an employer is of sufficient financial responsibility to pay wages and fringe benefits. The commissioner shall promulgate rules and regulations according to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code which prescribe standards for the granting of such waivers.
(c) Form of bond; filing in office of circuit clerk. -- The bond may include, with the approval of the commissioner, surety bonding, collateral bonding (including cash and securities), letters of credit, establishment of an escrow account or a combination of these methods. The commissioner shall accept an irrevocable letter of credit in lieu of any other bonding requirement. If collateral bonding is used, the employer may deposit cash, or collateral securities or certificates as follows: Bonds of the United States or its possessions, or of the federal land bank, or of the homeowner's loan corporation; full faith and credit general obligation bonds of the state of West Virginia or other states, and of any county, district or municipality of the state of West Virginia or other states; or certificates of deposit in a bank in this state, which certificates shall be in favor of the state. The cash deposit or market value of such securities or certificates shall be equal to or greater than the sum of the bond. The commissioner shall, upon receipt of any such deposit of cash, securities or certificates, promptly place the same with the state treasurer whose duty it shall be to receive and hold the same in the name of the state in trust for the purpose for which such deposit is made. The employer making the deposit shall be entitled from time to time to receive from the state treasurer, upon the written approval of the commissioner, the whole or any portion of any cash, securities or certificates so deposited, upon depositing with him in lieu thereof, cash or other securities or certificates of the classes herein specified having value equal to or greater than the sum of the bond. The commissioner shall cause a copy of the bond to be filed in the office of the clerk of the county commission of the county wherein the person, firm or corporation is doing business to be available for public inspection.
(d) Employee cause of action. -- Notwithstanding any other provision in this article, any employee, whose wages and fringe benefits are secured by the bond, as specified in subsection (c) of this section, has a direct cause of action against the bond for wages and fringe benefits that are due and unpaid.
(e) Action of commissioner. -- Any employee having wages and fringe benefits unpaid may inform the commissioner of the claim for unpaid wages and fringe benefits and request certification thereof. If the commissioner, upon notice to the employer and investigation,finds that such wages and fringe benefits or a portion thereof are unpaid, he shall make demand of such employer for the payment of such wages and fringe benefits. If payment for such wages and fringe benefits is not forthcoming within the time specified by the commissioner, not to exceed thirty days, the commissioner shall certify such claim or portion thereof, and forward the certification to the bonding company or the state treasurer, who shall provide payment to the affected employee within fourteen days of receipt of such certification. The bonding company, or any person, firm or corporation posting a bond, thereafter shall have the right to proceed against a defaulting employer for that part of the claim the employee paid. The procedure specified herein shall not be construed to preclude other actions by the commissioner or employee to seek enforcement of the provisions of this article by any civil proceedings for the payment of wages and fringe benefits or by criminal proceedings as may be determined appropriate.
(f) Posting and reporting by employer. -- With the exception of those exempt under subsection (a) of this section, any employer who is engaged in construction work or the severance, production or transportation (excluding railroad and water transporters) of minerals shall post the following in a place accessible to his or its employees:
(1) A copy of the bond or other evidence of surety specifying the number of employees covered as provided under subsection (a) of this section, or notification that the posting of a bond has been waived by the commissioner; and
(2) A copy of the notice in the form prescribed by the commissioner regarding the duties of employers under this section. During the first two years that any person, firm or corporation is doing business in this state in construction work, or in the severance, production or transportation of minerals, such person, firm or corporation shall on or before the first day of February, May, August and November of each calendar year file with the department a verified statement of the number of employees, or a copy of the quarterly report filed with the bureau of employment programs showing the accurate number of employees, unless the commissioner waives the filing of the report upon his determination that the person, firm or corporation is of sufficient stability that the reporting is unnecessary.
(g) Termination of bond. -- The bond may be terminated, with the approval of the commissioner, after an employer submits a statement, under oath or affirmation lawfully administered, to the commissioner that the following has occurred: The employer has ceased doing business and all wages and fringe benefits have been paid, or the employer has been doing business in this state for at least five consecutive years and has paid all wages and fringe benefits. The approval of the commissioner will be granted only after the commissioner has determined that the wages and fringe benefits of all employees have been paid. The bond may also be terminated upon a determination by the commissioner that an employer is of sufficient financial responsibility to pay wages and fringe benefits.
In the event that the claim of any employee or group of employees having wages and fringe benefits unpaid is in an amount in excess of the bond required in section fourteen of this article, the manner of distribution and order of priority of claims shall be as follows: Unpaid wages; unpaid fringe benefits; damages or expenses incurred or arising out of actual injury: Provided, That nothing contained in this section shall be construed so as to limit any other cause of action against any person, firm or corporation.
(b) Any person, firm or corporation who knowingly, willfully and fraudulently disposes of or relocates assets with intent to deprive employees of their wages and fringe benefits is guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars nor more than thirty thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than three years, or both fined and imprisoned.
(c) (1) At any time the commissioner determines that a person, firm or corporation has not provided or maintained an adequate bond, as required by section fourteen of this article, the commissioner shall issue a cease and desist order which is to be issued and posted requiring that said person, firm or corporation either post an adequate bond or cease further operations in this state within a period specified by the commissioner; which period shall be not less than five nor more than fourteen days. The cease and desist order may be issued by the commissioner at his own instance or at his direction, with or without application to or the approval of any other officer, agent, department or employee of the state or application to any court for approval thereof. Any person, firm or corporation who continues to engage in construction work or the severance, production or transportation of minerals without an approved bond after such specified period shall be guilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than five thousand dollars nor more than thirty thousand dollars, or imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than three years, or both fined and imprisoned. Any cease and desist order issued by the commissioner pursuant to this subsection may be directed by the commissioner to the sheriff of the county wherein the business activity of which the order is the subject, or to any officer or employee of the department, commanding such sheriff, officer or employee to serve such order upon the business in question within seventy-two hours and to make proper return thereof.
(2) Any other provision of law to the contrary notwithstanding, any person against whom a cease and desist order has been directed shall be entitled to judicial review thereof by filing a verified petition taking an appeal therefrom within fifteen days from the date of service of such order. Such verified petition shall be filed in the circuit court of the county wherein service of the order was completed, at the option of the petitioner, or, in the circuit court of Kanawha County, West Virginia. If the appeal is not perfected within such fifteen day period, the cease and desist order shall be final and shall not thereafter be subject to judicial review. No appeal shall be deemed to have been perfected except upon the filing with the clerk of the circuit court of the county wherein the appeal is taken, of a bond or other security to be approved by the court, in an amount of not less than the amount of the bond otherwise required to be posted under the provisions of section fourteen of this article. The person so filing a petition of appeal shall cause a copy of the petition and bond or other posted security to be served upon the commissioner by certified mail, return receipt requested, within seven days after the date upon which the petition for appeal is filed.
(d) Any person who threatens any officer, agent or employee of the department or other person authorized to assist the commissioner in the performance of his duties under any provision of section fourteen of this article or of this section or who shall interfere with or attempt to prevent any such officer, agent, employee or other person in the performance of such duties shall beguilty of a felony, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in an amount of not less than one thousand dollars nor more than three thousand dollars or imprisoned in the penitentiary not less than one nor more than three years, or both such fine and imprisonment.
Any time lost from employment as provided in this section may be charged against the employee's regular pay or against the employee's accumulated leave, if any, at the option of the employee.
At the request of an employer, any employee losing time as provided herein shall supply his or her employer with a statement from the chief of the volunteer fire department or the supervisor or other appropriate person in charge of the emergency medical service entity stating that the employee responded to an emergency call and the time thereof.
As used in this section, "emergency" means going to, attending to or coming from: (1) A fire call; (2) a hazardous or toxic materials spill and cleanup; (3) a motor vehicle accident; or (4) any other situation to which his or her fire department or emergency medical service entity has been or later could be dispatched. The term "employer" includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to any employee.
Any employer who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this section must reinstate the employee to his or her former position and shall be required to pay the employee all lost wages and benefits, including seniority, for the period between termination and reinstatement. Any action to enforce the provisions of this section must be commenced within a period of one year after the date of violation and the action must be commenced in the circuit court of the county wherein the place of employment is located.
No employer may terminate an employee who is a member of an emergency medical service and who, in the line of emergency duty as an emergency medical service member, responds to an emergency call prior to the time he is due to report for work and which emergency results in a loss of time from his employment.
Any time lost from employment as provided in this section may be charged against the employee's regular pay.
At the request of an employer, any employee losing time as provided herein shall supply his employer with a statement from the director of health stating that the employee responded to an emergency call and the time thereof.
As used in this section, "emergency" shall mean going to or coming from an actual medical emergency to prevent the imminent loss of life. The term "employer" includes any individual, partnership, association, corporation, business trust or any person or group of persons acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to any employee.
Any employer who willfully and knowingly violates the provisions of this section shall be required to reinstate such employee to his former position and shall be required to pay such employee all lost wages and benefits for the period between termination and reinstatement. Any action to enforce the provisions of this section shall be commenced within a period of one year after the date of violation and such action shall be commenced in the circuit court of the county wherein the place of employment is located.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
The WV Code Online is an unofficial copy of the annotated WV Code, provided as a convenience. It has NOT been edited for publication, and is not in any way official or authoritative.