There are laws in West Virginia that were created to protect employees. These laws provide you with certain rights related to your paycheck, and your employer must follow them. If your employer refuses to adhere to the laws, you can turn to the West Virginia Division of Labor for assistance.

When Must Paychecks Be Sent Out?

In West Virginia, all employees, regardless if they are hourly or salaried, are must be paid at least two times every month. However, an employer may pay their employees less frequently if the West Virginia Commissioner of Labor grants them a special agreement to do this.

What Happens If I Am Fired?

Regardless if you have been fired or quit, your final pay is due to you by the next payday. If your employer does not give you a paycheck by that day, you can sue them for liquidated damages, which is two times the amount of your overdue wages. However, you will need to sue your employer in court to get this money. If you have unused vacation or sick days, you may be able to get financial compensation for those days, unless your employer has a written policy prohibiting payment for unused vacation and sick time. Since there is no state law requiring an employer to pay out for unused paid time off, you have to go by what your employer’s policy is or what your contract says about the matter.

Can My Paycheck Be Garnished?

To have your wages garnished for a personal debt, a creditor, such as a collections agency or a credit card company, usually must get a court judgment authorizing them to garnish your wages first. Only the can they have your wages garnished to pay off the debt. However, for unpaid taxes, child support payment, and defaulted student loans, a creditor does not need to get a court judgment before they can start garnishing your paycheck.

Your employer can also garnish your paycheck to pay for damage that you caused at work or to repay a loan that they gave you. However, your employer can only deduct the amount from your paycheck if you agree in writing to have it deducted by filling out a wage assignment form.

Can I Recover a Withheld Paycheck?

If your employer is refusing to hand over your paycheck, you are entitled to fight for your earned wages. You can file a claim for unpaid wages with the West Virginia Division of Labor. They will investigate your claim, and try to reach a resolution between you and your employer. You can also file a lawsuit against your employer, which may be the preferred option if you wish to get the aforementioned liquidated damages for an unpaid final paycheck.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know?

Your employer can ask you to pay for required uniforms or tools. They can also ask that you pay for a required medical or drug test before you start your job. All of these costs can be deducted from your paycheck, but only if you agree to it through a completed wage assignment form and if the amount will not reduce your paycheck to less than minimum wage.

Where Can I Find the Right Lawyer?

It is a good idea to talk to a West Virginia employment lawyer if you feel that you are not getting all of the wages that you have earned. An employment lawyer can fight for your rights and make sure that you get the paycheck to which you are entitled.