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Avoid Penalties with Wage Payment and Collection Act "Safe Harbor"

Starting June 4, 2020, a new “safe harbor” revision to the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act provides West Virginia’s employers an avenue to avoid the liquidated damages and attorney’s fees provisions of the Act. Without this safe harbor, employers face penalties for different types of violations, some of which allow an employee to recover liquidated damages in the amount of twice the wages owed and allow for an employee to recover his or her attorney fees and costs.

Under the new safe harbor provision:

  • The employer must provide proper notification to the separated employee outlining contact information for dispute resolution;

  • The employee must notify the employer in writing of a “pre-suit demand” which includes any amounts he or she believes are still due;

  • The employer has 7 days after notification to correct the error;

  • If the error is corrected, the employee may not sue for additional damages;

  • The pre-suit demand is required for single plaintiff and class action suits.

The provisions allow former employees a prompt resolution to wage payment issues that are easily resolved, while protecting businesses that make honest errors from costly litigation.  

The employer’s communication at the time of separation is critical for protection under the new safe harbor provision, and employers should immediately implement a process for communicating the required information with employees separating from employment to help avoid future liability

© Steptoe & Johnson PLLC. All Rights Reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 198
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About this Author

Allison B. Williams, Employment Attorney, Steptoe Johnson Law Firm
Member

Allison Williams focuses her practice in the area of labor and employment law, litigation, and higher education law.  Ms. Williams' practice includes cases pending in state and federal courts, as well as actions pending before the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board, the West Virginia Human Rights Commission, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. 

(304) 933-8144
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