Labor & Employment Lawyer
On April 1, 2010, Secretary of Labor, Hilda Solis announced a new campaign entitled We Can Help. This campaign was created to assist low-income workers in reporting wage and hour violations to the Department of Labor.
Industry workers where wage and hour violations, or Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) violations have occurred include:
Health aid workers
Cable installers (especially those using company equipment)
Car or auto mechanics
The listed professions are either being investigated or were investigated, but do not mean that each industry violates such conditions. Other professions that were not listed could mean that they are still in an inquiry on their own merits. Employers in these targeted industries should be aware of this enforcement effort to conduct regular audits and ensure compliance.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
In West Virginia, employees have specific rights concerning their employment after they file a workers’ compensation claim:
1. No employer shall discriminate in any manner against any employee because the employee received or attempted to receive West Virginia workers’ compensation benefits.
2. Any employer who has provided medical insurance for an employee and his/her dependents by paying premiums, in whole or in part, shall not cancel or decrease employee or dependent benefits while the employee is claiming or receiving West Virginia workers’ compensation benefits. If the medical insurance policy required a contribution by the employee before the employee was injured with his/her workers’ compensation injury, then the employee must continue to make the contribution that was previously required.
3. It is against the law and a discriminatory practice for an employer to terminate an injured employee while the injured employee is off work due to an injury and is receiving or is eligible to receive temporary total disability benefits, unless the injured employee has committed a separate dischargeable offense.
4. It is against the law and a discriminatory practice for an employer to fail to reinstate an employee who has sustained an injury to the his/her former position of employment once the employee is released to return to work without restrictions.
Once you file a West Virginia workers’ compensation claim, your employer cannot reduce your medical/health insurance coverage, your employer must put you back to work at your old job once you are released to return to work without restrictions, and your employer cannot fire you unless there is a specific reason such as theft or drug use.