West Virginia News & Analysis

  • Stork express: things to consider when employee may be pregnant

    Working while pregnant is much more common today than in past years. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, two-thirds of mothers expecting their first child between 2006 and 2008 worked during pregnancy, compared to 44 percent in the 1960s. Of those who worked during pregnancy, 82 percent continued working until within one month of birth, compared to just one-third in the 1960s.

  • Does company website comply with ADA? Inquiring plaintiff's attorneys want to know

    Website accessibility remains a hot employment law topic and frequent source of litigation. A recent decision by the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals (which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama) should serve as a stark reminder to business owners that their publicly accessed websites must be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

  • WV court, SCOTUS arrive at same conclusion about waivers in arbitration agreements

    The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) and the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals have addressed the issue of arbitration agreement class action waivers in differing circumstances, but the results are the same. If the parties agree to arbitrate any claims that may arise and include a class action waiver, courts will enforce the agreement as written, and judicial relief cannot be pursued as a class.

  • Are idiopathic injuries compensable in WV? Recent court rulings lean toward 'yes'

    One of the more difficult issues in West Virginia workers' compensation law is whether idiopathic injuries—injuries that arose spontaneously or from an unknown cause—are considered compensable. The subject provides ample opportunities for litigation as private insurers, self-insured employers, and third-party administrators continue to reject workers' comp claims resulting from injuries of unknown causes that occurred at work.

  • Use underappreciated resource to your advantage: effective, relevant job descriptions

    While most of you have job descriptions, we often treat them like red-headed stepchildren, i.e., neglected and taken for granted. Sure, you pull the descriptions out to attach to a job posting when necessary, but when was the last time you actually reviewed them carefully for your organization?

  • Yes, you may (carefully, politely) ask about retirement

    Q We have an employee who is about to turn 65. He has been with the company about 10 years. He is very negative about the organization and has created the same negativity in his two direct reports. In all honesty, we would like for him to retire because of the toxic attitude. May we ask him about his retirement plans?

  • New laws aim to curb workplace sexual harassment

    It's no secret that sexual harassment has emerged as a huge issue after having been kept secret to some extent. Until now, parties have been largely free to agree to keep harassment claims and settlements confidential, just like they could with other claims and settlements. With the rise of the #MeToo movement, however, the federal and many state governments are stepping in to try to help snuff out harassment by prohibiting certain confidentiality agreements and making it more costly for businesses that confidentially pay sexual harassment victims. This article looks at some new and pending legislation that attempts to curb sexual harassment in various ways.

  • Wrestling with reasonable accommodations? Thanks to JAN, you are not in this alone

    An employee is insisting he can bring his comfort iguana to work. Another is seeking an adjusted work schedule due to stress that amazingly just materialized after a poor performance evaluation. A third employee surfaces with a medical condition you know nothing about. Negotiating the interactive process with employees who have disabilities can be a challenge for the most seasoned HR professionals. Never fear, though, because there is a great resource out there that can be a lifesaver. Better yet, it's confidential and free! What is this wonder? The Job Accommodation Network (JAN).

  • Cybersecurity lessons from an afternoon at the movies

    It probably won't surprise you to hear that cybersecurity is a huge buzzword these days. The media is brimming with stories about retailers and even credit agencies whose systems have been hacked, leading to stolen customer data. IT departments caution against clicking on links in e-mails that may be phishing scams. Ransomware could lock up an entire network unless a huge ransom is paid. And in case you weren't aware, cybersecurity risks like these can threaten your company's employee benefit plans.

  • 'Fair-share' fee ruling brings new day for public employers, employees

    With proponents of a U.S. Supreme Court decision against the collection of "fair-share" fees claiming a victory for First Amendment rights and critics calling the ruling an example of the Court siding with billionaires against workers, employers are adjusting to a major change in the world of agency shops in the public sector.