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Safer Workplace Act

On April 26, 2017, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation (H.B. 2857) enacting the West Virginia Safer Workplace Act. The act permits employers to test employees and applicants for drugs and alcohol as a condition of continued employment or hiring. The act supersedes judicial precedent that permitted an employee to sue his or her employer when required to cooperate with a drug or alcohol test under certain circumstances. The act grants employers’ greater latitude in workplace testing so long as it meets the terms and conditions of the law.

The law is effective July 7, 2017.

Read WV H.B. 2857

Second Chance for Employment Act

On April 25, 2017, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation (S.B. 76) titled the Second Chance for Employment Act. Under the act, individuals convicted of certain criminal offenses may get a reduction in the conviction, potentially improving their employment opportunities. Additionally, employers will incur limited civil immunity for hiring convicted felons and individuals in a reduced misdemeanor status.

The law is effective July 7, 2017.

Read WV S.B. 76

Unemployment Benefits Disqualification

On April 8, 2017, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed legislation (S.B. 222) disqualifying an individual who left or lost a job, because of strike or other bona fide labor dispute, for unemployment benefits. The new law also:

  • Provides that operation of a facility by non-striking employees, contractors, or other personnel is not a reason to grant benefits.
  • Establishes the circumstances when a worker is determined to leave or lose employment because of a lockout.
  • Provides the circumstances when a worker is determined to be permanently replaced.

The law is effective July 7, 2017.

Read WV S.B. 222