WVC 21 -
CHAPTER 21. LABOR.
WVC 21 - 5 B-
ARTICLE 5B. EQUAL PAY FOR EQUAL WORK.
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(1) "Employer" means any person, partnership, firm or
corporation employing one or more employees, but does not include
the state, or any municipal corporation or political subdivision
of the state having in force a civil service system based on
That the term employer shall not include any
individual, corporation, business trust, or similar unit whose
operations are subject to any federal act relating to equal wages
for equal work, regardless of sex.
(2) "Employee" means any individual who, otherwise than as a
co-partner of the employer or as an independent contractor,
renders personal services wholly or partly in this state to an
employer who pays or agrees to pay such individual at a fixed
rate: Provided, however, That where services are rendered only
partly in this state, an individual is not an employee unless his
contract of employment has been entered into, or payments
thereunder are ordinarily made or are to be made, within this
(3) "Wages" means all compensation for performance of
service by an employee for an employer whether paid by the
employer or another person, including cash value of all
compensation paid in any medium other than cash.
(4) "Rate" with reference to wages means the basis of
compensation for services by an employee for an employer and
includes compensation based on the time spent in the performance
of such services, or on the number of operations accomplished, or
on the quantity produced or handled.
(5) "Unpaid wages" means the difference between the wages
actually paid to an employee and the wages required under section
three of this article, to be paid to such employee.
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§21-5B-2. State commissioner of labor to enforce article.
The state commissioner of labor shall have the power and it
shall be his duty to carry out and enforce the provisions of this
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§21-5B-3. Discrimination between sexes in payment of wages for
work of comparable character prohibited.
(1) No employer shall: (a) In any manner discriminate
between the sexes in the payment of wages for work of comparable
character, the performance of which requires comparable skills;
(b) pay wages to any employee at a rate less than that at which
he pays wages to his employees of the opposite sex for work of
comparable character, the performance of which requires
(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply where: (a)
Payment is made pursuant to a seniority or merit system which
does not discriminate on the basis of sex, (b) a differential in
wages between employees is based in good faith on factors other
than sex. No employee shall be reduced in wages in order to
eliminate an existing, past or future wage discrimination or to
effectuate wage equalization.
(3) No employer shall in any manner discriminate in the
payment of wages against any employee because the employee has
filed a complaint in a proceeding under this article, or has
testified, or is about to testify, or because the employer
believes that the employee may testify, in any investigation or
proceedings pursuant to this article or in a criminal action
pursuant to this article.
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§21-5B-4. Employee's right of action against his employer.
(1) Any employee whose compensation is at a rate that is in
violation of section three of this article shall have a right of
action against his employer for the recovery of (a) the amount of
the unpaid wages to which the employee is entitled for the one-
year period preceding the commencement of the action, and (b) an
additional amount as liquidated damages equal to the amount
referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection.
(2) In addition to any judgment awarded to the plaintiff,
the court shall allow reasonable attorney's fees to be taxed as
costs in any judgment recovered.
(3) The action for the unpaid wages and liquidated damages
may be maintained by one or more employees on behalf of
themselves or other employees similarly situated.
(4) No agreement for compensation at a rate of less than the
rate to which such employee is entitled under this article is a
defense to any action under this article.
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§21-5B-5. Offenses; penalties.
In addition to the civil damages recoverable under section
four of this article, any employer who violates any of the
provisions of this article shall, upon conviction thereof, be
guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be fined not less than twenty-
five dollars nor more than one hundred dollars.
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§21-5B-6. Provisions of article severable.
If any provision of this article or the application thereof
to any person or circumstances shall be held invalid, such
invalidity shall not affect the provisions or application of this
article which can be given effect without the invalid provisions
or application, and to this end the provisions of this article
are declared to be severable.