The West Virginia Human Rights Act outlines the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees when it comes to West Virginia sexual discrimination law in the workplace. Under this law, employers are those who have twelve or more employees and include labor organizations, apprentice programs and employment agencies. This differs from federal law because Title VII only applies to those with fifteen or more employees. Employees are those who are employed by employers (as defined above) except for those who are employed by their parents, spouse or child.
The West Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits decisions in terms of hiring and firing, as well as job terms, conditions and compensation to be made on the basis of sex.
If you are an employee in West Virginia and you feel like your civil rights have been violated, you can file a complaint with the West Virginia Human Rights Commission assuming you do so within 365 days of the alleged discriminatory act. You’ll need to contact the commission and fill out an employment complain form that you can get from the Commission office or by finding it online.
After you file the complaint, the Commission will contact your employer with a copy of the complaint and a letter. Your employer will have an opportunity to respond to the complaint and you and your employer can try to settle the case at this point. If you are unable to settle your case, the Commission will assign two investigators to gather information and determine if there is probable cause to believe that you’re rights have been violated.
If they find that there is probable cause, you and your employer will enter settlement negotiations again. If these fail, the claim will go to a public hearing which will be heard by an Administrative Law Judge.
If you decide that you want to go through the federal or state courts instead of the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, you can request a “Right to Sue” letter from the EEOC or the Commission instead. You’ll need to consult with a lawyer to see which course of action is the best for your case.
All employers and employees need to stay informed on their rights and responsibilities in the workplace. Employers should also post an up-to-date West Virginia Complete Labor Law Poster in the workplace.
Every state in the U.S. falls under Federal jurisdiction when it comes to most kinds of discrimination laws. However, each state has its own set of laws that are governed by the Federal laws. These particular laws are unique for each state. It is widely held that West Virginia law is particularly favorable to employees. As such, the laws strictly govern how and how not to treat employees if you are an employer. The West Virginia law is even stricter than the Federal law when it comes to discrimination.
I found that in West Virginia, under the terms of the Human Rights Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age (40 years old and up), disability, religion, color, ancestry, national origin and blindness. West Virginia also protect employees from sexual harassment more strictly than Federal law.
All employers are required to post their discrimination notice in the workplace in a location that is very visible. It is against the law to tamper with any labor law notice and removing the notice can result in a fine or greater punishment.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against and you are a West Virginia Resident, there are two things that you can do. The state administrative agency will want to know about your situation. The particular agency you will need to contact is the West Virginia Human Rights Commission (WVHRC).
Also, the Federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will want to know about your situation. The good news is that if you file in one place, you don’t have to file in the other. Both agencies have a work-sharing agreement to make the process easier for you.
If you believe that you have been discriminated against, you have one year to file with the WVHRC and 300 days to file with the EEOC. You may, remember, cross-file with either agency in order for your claim to be filed in both places.