Private employers.The West Virginia Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating in any manner between the sexes in the payment of wages for work of comparable character, the performance of which requires comparable skills and from paying wages to any employee at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work requiring comparable skills (WV Code Sec. 21-5B-1 et seq.).
Under the Act, it is unlawful to:
• Enter into contracts whereby an employee agrees to accept a rate of pay lower than that paid to the other gender for comparable work.
• Reduce any employee's wages in order to comply with the Act.
• Retaliate against employees who file equal pay complaints or participate in the investigation or hearing of equal pay claims.
Coverage. The Equal Pay Act applies to all private employers in the state that are not covered by federal equal pay laws. There is additional information and details on the federal equal pay requirements.
Exceptions. Differences in pay are permissible when based:
• On a seniority system or merit system that does not discriminate based on sex; or,
• In good faith on factors other than sex.
Enforcement. The West Virginia commissioner of labor enforces the Equal Pay Act and can institute actions against violating employers. An employee may also file a private lawsuit in state court to recover damages equal to twice the unpaid wages, together with attorney's fees and costs.
Public employers. The West Virginia Equal Pay for Equal Work for State Employees Law prohibits the state and its various subdivisions and agencies from discriminating between the sexes for comparable work of comparable character requiring comparable skills. Pay ...