West Virginia Termination (with Discharge) laws & HR compliance analysis

West Virginia Termination (with Discharge): What you need to know

West Virginia is an "employment-at-will" state. This means that either the employer or the employee may end the employment relationship at any time and for any reason, unless a law or agreement provides otherwise. However, while this is true in theory, various West Virginia statutes and court cases have created important exceptions to the doctrine.
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As a general rule, if a federal, state, or local law grants employees the right to engage in an activity or to enjoy a benefit, employees should never be disciplined, discharged, or otherwise retaliated against for requesting or attempting to do so.
To list a few key examples, state law prohibits employers from discharging employees for engaging in the following activities:
Garnishment. Employers may not discharge or make any other form of reprisal against employees because of garnishment (WV Code 46A-2-131).
Jury duty. It is unlawful to retaliate against employees for being called for jury duty or serving on a jury (WV Code Sec. 52-3-1).
Lie detector tests. It is generally against public policy for an employer to require or to request that an employee submit to a polygraph test or similar test as a condition of employment (WV Code Sec. 21-5-5B).
Safety. Public employers are prohibited from discharging or discriminating against public employees who file complaints, testify, or exercise any rights under the state’s occupational safety and health act (WV Code Sec. 21-3A-13).
Tobacco products. Employers are prohibited from retaliating against employees for using tobacco products while off duty and off the employer's premises (WV Code Sec. 21-3-19).
Volunteer emergency workers. It is unlawful for an employer to ...

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