Articles Posted in Employment Law

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Petitioner was a police officer, and later police chief, employed by the City of Montgomery. In 2011, Petitioner’s employment was terminated. Petitioner filed a complaint against the City and the Mayor (collectively, Respondents), asserting that he was discharged without a pre-termination hearing in violation of W. Va. Code 8-14A-1 and in contravention of public policy because he refused to place a GPS tracking device in another officer’s police car. The circuit court granted Respondents’ motion to dismiss, concluding (1) Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; and (2) Respondents were entitled to qualified immunity because Respondents’ alleged conduct did not violate clearly established laws of which a reasonable official would have known. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed and remanded in part, holding (1) the circuit court properly ruled that Petitioner was not entitled to a pre-termination hearing; but (2) Petitioner’s complaint alleged sufficient facts to support a claim for wrongful discharge in violation of a substantial public policy, and therefore, Respondents were not entitled to qualified immunity from Petitioner’s cause of action for wrongful discharge.View "Brown v. City of Montgomery" on Justia Law

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Petitioners in these combined cases were former public employees who filed actions in the circuit court alleging violations of the West Virginia Human Rights Act (WVHRA). The circuit courts dismissed the complaints for Petitioners' failures to exhaust their administrative remedies, concluding that the exhaustion of administrative remedies available pursuant to the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Procedure was a necessary precondition to the filing of a circuit court action. The Supreme Court reversed the rulings of the circuit courts, holding (1) a public employee, whose employment confers grievance rights before the West Virginia Public Employees Grievance Board, is not required to exhaust the administrative Grievance Procedure before initiating a complaint in the circuit court alleging violations of the WVHRA; and (2) the commencement of the Grievance Procedure does not preclude the institution of a circuit court action prior to exhaustion of the Grievance Procedure. Remanded.View "Weimer v. Sanders" on Justia Law