Category Archives: Liquidated damages

Legislative Update: West Virginia legislature may give employers more time to cut final paycheck

Pend­ing West Vir­ginia leg­is­la­tion would, if passed, extend the time employ­ers have to issue a ter­mi­nat­ed employee’s final pay­check, from the cur­rent 72 hours after dis­charge to the next reg­u­lar pay day.

On Jan­u­ary 28, 2011, Sen­a­tors Palum­bo and Klem­pa intro­duced Sen­ate Bill 339, which is being referred to the Labor and Finance Com­mit­tees. You can keep track of the progress of the bill by going to the Bill Sta­tus page and enter­ing 339 in the “Enter Bill Num­ber” field. For infor­ma­tion on the bill’s spon­sors, or on any oth­er mem­bers of the Sen­ate, you can go to the Sen­ate Mem­bers page and pick the mem­ber from a drop-down list.

Sen­ate Bill 339 would amend the WV Wage Pay­ment and Col­lec­tion Act, which deals in part with the oblig­a­tion of an employ­er to issue a final pay­check to an employ­ee with­in a cer­tain peri­od of time.  The Wage Pay­ment and Col­lec­tion Act cur­rent­ly sets two dif­fer­ent dead­lines, depend­ing on whether the employ­ee resigned or was dis­charged.

  • Sec­tion 21–5-4(b): If an employ­ee is dis­charged, the employ­er must pay the employ­ee all earned wages with­in 72 hours after the dis­charge.
  • Sec­tion 21–5-4©: if the employ­ee resigns, the employ­er must pat the employ­ee all earned wages by the next reg­u­lar pay­day, either through “reg­u­lar chan­nels” or, if the employ­ee requests, by mail. There is this addi­tion­al vari­a­tion where the employ­ee resigns: if the employ­ee pro­vides “at least one pay period’s notice of inten­tion to quit”, then the employ­er must pay the employ­ee all earned wages “at the time of quit­ting” (which is the final day worked after giv­ing notice).

Con­tin­ue read­ing Leg­isla­tive Update: West Vir­ginia leg­is­la­ture may give employ­ers more time to cut final pay­check

Cleveland jury awards $900,000 against hospital in age discrimination case

Ellen Simon, an attor­ney in Cleve­land who authors the excel­lent blog, Ellen Simon’s Employ­ee Rights Post, recent­ly tried an age dis­crim­i­na­tion claim for plain­tiff Glo­ria Parks (a phle­botomist) against Cleveland’s Uni­ver­si­ty Hos­pi­tals Case Med­ical Cen­ter.

Ms. Parks had worked for the hos­pi­tal for 30 years when she was fired over a med­ical mis­take involv­ing her­self and anoth­er much younger employ­ee. The hos­pi­tal fired Ms. Parks, but not the much younger employ­ee.

The jury returned a ver­dict in favor of the plain­tiff (Ms. Parks) for $450,000 for her eco­nom­ic loss and $450,000 for “oth­er com­pen­sato­ry dam­ages”, accord­ing to Ms. Simon’s blog arti­cle. Based on the lim­it­ed infor­ma­tion I have so far, it looks like the “oth­er com­pen­sato­ry dam­ages” was an award for emo­tion­al dis­tress, The jury did not award puni­tive dam­ages.

So the ver­dict totals $900,000, and Ms. Simon will file a request for attor­neys’ fees’ fees and expens­es. While it is not clear from the arti­cle so far, I sus­pect the case was assert­ed for age dis­crim­i­na­tion under Ohio’s Fair Employ­ment Prac­tices Act (and not the fed­er­al ADEA).

Con­tin­ue read­ing Cleve­land jury awards $900,000 against hos­pi­tal in age dis­crim­i­na­tion case

Back from the USSR: FMLA Retaliation, 4th Circuit Decision in Dotson v Pfizer

Retal­i­a­tion law is one of the most devel­op­ing (and dan­ger­ous) areas of employ­ment law. I recent­ly spoke at the West Vir­ginia Employ­ment Lawyers Association’s annu­al con­fer­ence on retal­i­a­tion law, and I want­ed to go back and dis­cuss an impor­tant Fourth Cir­cuit deci­sion on the Fam­i­ly and Med­ical Leave Act of 1993, 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.

Dot­son v. Pfiz­er: Adop­tion and the FMLA

The deci­sion is Dot­son v. Pfiz­er Inc., 558 F.3d 284 (2009), and involved alle­ga­tions of retal­i­a­tion stem­ming from leave tak­en for an inter­na­tion­al adop­tion from Rus­sia.

The jury award­ed $1,876 in dam­ages on the FMLA inter­fer­ence claim and $331,429.25 on FMLA retal­i­a­tion claim. The judge then award­ed $333,305.25 in statu­to­ry liq­ui­dat­ed dam­ages, $375,000 in attor­neys’ fees, and $14,264.88 in court costs. Both sides appealed. The Fourth Cir­cuit reject­ed all aspects of the employer’s appeal, but found the tri­al court made a mis­take in refus­ing to award the plain­tiff pre-judg­ment inter­est. Con­tin­ue read­ing Back from the USSR: FMLA Retal­i­a­tion, 4th Cir­cuit Deci­sion in Dot­son v Pfiz­er