Charleston Retaliatory Discharge Attorney
Charleston Employment Law Attorney
Although the State of West Virginia is an “at-will” employment state, employers are prohibited from discharging employees from their position or employment for retaliatory reasons. This means that an employer cannot fire you for:
- Filing a workers compensation claim
- Filing a legal claim against the company for other reasons
- Filing a Qui Tam (Whistleblowers) claim against the company for violation of public policy.
- Any reason other than those stated above that are a direct act of retaliation.
Workers Comp Claims
Workers compensation is an insurance product purchased by employers to protect their employees as well as their company. When an employee is injured, the workers comp policy will cover the costs associated with the injury. Some of these costs include medical expenses, rehabilitative expenses, and lost wages. Employers are protected from being sued by the employee for these costs if workers compensation is used for the injury.
Employers may face higher insurance premiums when a claim is made. But this is not the fault of the employee, nor is it their responsibility. Employers cannot fire an employee for filing a claim for an injury, even if it means higher premiums for the company in the future.
Qui Tam Claims
Qui Tam is the legal name for filing a whistleblower action against a company that does direct business with the federal government. If an employee discovers that a company is committing an illegal act and reports that information, the employer cannot retaliate by firing the person or demoting them from their position.
Whistleblowers are protected by federal laws, and the federal government even rewards the whistleblower with a cash settlement if money is recovered from the business that was committing an illegal act against the government. The Whistleblowers Act has been in effect since President Lincoln signed it into law and remains one of the biggest protections for employees who report fraudulent actions by their employer.
Employees who have been discharged for reporting their company for illegal activity under Qui Tam, or for any other reason have specific protections under the law and should seek legal counsel.