WEST virginia legislature
2020 regular session
House Bill 2497
By Delegates Kump, Pushkin, N. Brown, S. Brown, Lovejoy, Canestraro, Fluharty, Householder, and C. Thompson
[Introduced January 8, 2020;
to the Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §6C-1-3, §6C-1-4, and §6C-1-7 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, all relating to the whistle-blower law; protecting promotion or increase in compensation; lengthening the statute of limitations; allowing the use of grievance procedure; protecting use of other right or legal action; and protecting rights related to political activity and membership in employee organizations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 1. WHISTLE-BLOWER LAW.
§6C-1-3. Discriminatory and retaliatory actions against whistle-blowers prohibited; promotion, increased compensation protected.
(a) No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee by changing the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee, acting on his or her own volition, or a person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the employee, makes a good faith report or is about to report, verbally or in writing, to the employer or appropriate authority an instance of wrongdoing or waste.
(b) No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate or retaliate against an employee by changing the employee’s compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee is requested or subpoenaed by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or in a court action.
(c) No employer may deny a whistle-blower covered by the civil service system a promotion or other increase in compensation that the whistle-blower otherwise would have received.
§6C-1-4. Civil action by whistle-blower for violation; limitation on actions; burden of proof; defense; use of evidence in civil service proceeding; grievance action available; other rights and actions not limited.
(a) A person who alleges
that he or she is a victim of a violation of this article may bring a
civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for appropriate injunctive
relief or damages, or both, within
180 days two years after the
occurrence of the alleged violation.
(b) An employee alleging a violation of this article must show by a preponderance of the evidence that, prior to the alleged reprisal, the employee, or a person acting on behalf of or under the direction of the employee, had reported or was about to report in good faith, verbally or in writing, an instance of wrongdoing or waste to the employer or an appropriate authority.
(c) It shall be a defense to an action under this section if the defendant proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the action complained of occurred for separate and legitimate reasons, which are not merely pretexts.
(d) An employee covered by
the civil service system who contests a civil service action, believing it to
be motivated by
his the employee having made a disclosure of
information may submit as admissible evidence any or all material relating to
the action as whistle-blower and to the resulting alleged reprisal.
(e) Any employee covered by the civil service system who feels he or she has suffered retaliatory action as a result of being a whistle-blower may pursue a grievance under the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Procedure.
(f) Nothing in this article shall disparage, impair, or limit any other right or legal action of an employee covered by the civil service system.
§6C-1-7. Limitations on scope of construction; protections related to political activity and membership in organization of employee.
(a) The provisions of this article shall not be construed to require an employer to compensate an employee for participation in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by an appropriate authority or impair the rights of any person under a collective bargaining or other labor management agreement.
(b) Except when on duty or acting in an official capacity and except where otherwise prohibited by state or federal law, no employee covered by the civil service system may be prohibited from engaging in political activity or be denied the right to refrain from engaging in political activity.
(c) No employee covered by the civil service system may be denied the right to be a member of an organization of employees or to refrain from being a member of an organization of employees.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to extend or clarify protections under the state’s whistle-blower law.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.