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West Virginia Consumer Protection and Employment Law Blog

How can you tell if your employer is retaliating against you?

It takes a lot of courage to stand up to workplace misconduct and exercise your rights as an employee. After filing a complaint or participating in an investigation of a complaint, you hope the unfair treatment will stop. However, the misconduct might get worse after a complaint if it leads to employer retaliation. 

Employees have federal rights that protect them from workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation. That is why it is important to understand the forms retaliation can take, so you can protect your rights in the workplace.

What should I know before getting my first credit card?

When used responsibly, a credit card can be a welcomed addition to your financial history. You should understand a few key factors before applying for your first credit card however, both to ensure you’re making the right decision and to also make sure your rights are protected. In this case, The Balance offers the following advice to first-time applicants.

A credit card is much like a loan

Car manufacturers recall 74 percent more vehicles than they sell

In 2018, Forbes reported that automotive recalls had hit a four-year low for 2017. However, it also added that automotive recalls totaled 30.7 million units, compared to total sales of 17.6 million new vehicles. These figures may cause many drivers in West Virginia to reconsider the safety of their vehicles.

The devastating effects of the Takata airbags defects further demonstrates to drivers how dangerous the issues leading to these recalls can be. And, also, that it may take years for companies to discover the defects. For example, the 2016 Takata recalls affected cars made as far back as 2009. Because of this, drivers should routinely check whether or not their vehicles have been recalled via the NHTSA’s SaferCar.gov website.

A fine line between business needs and discrimination

All throughout the south and including in West Virginia, Walmart has long been a popular brand and store for area residents. One of the hallmarks of Walmart has been that it has provided many great employment opportunities for people at all levels. The strong employment history of Walmart includes providing ample jobs for people with disabilities. This, however, may be set to change and is causing some serious controversy for the mega-retailer.

As reported by Inc. magazine, Walmart has long hired people in a position referred to as a greeter. As the job title implies, these people are responsible for greeting customers as they come into or leave a store. They may also help direct customers as to where they might find certain products they are looking for. This role was very desirable for disabled persons as even someone confined to a wheelchair could fully perform the duties required. 

EEOC charges W.Va. staffing agencies with abuse, discrimination

Federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act are in place to ensure that all American workers have the opportunity to work in a safe, humane environment for a fair wage. The Equal Opportunity Employment Commission recently brought a lawsuit against four West Virginia-based staffing agencies, accusing them violating these federal regulations by subjecting Latino workers that they recruited to work in an Alabama poultry processing plant to abusive and discriminatory treatment.

The four agencies, which are under common ownership, settled the case for $475,000. In addition, the settlement also requires the agencies to train employees on their legal obligations to treat recruitees equally regardless of national origin.

Many more vehicles added to the Takata airbag recall

Over 1.7 million vehicles have been recently added to the multi-year Takata airbag recall, according to Consumer Reports. The airbags in these vehicles are being recalled due to a risk that they will explode when deployed, shooting metal fragments toward the occupants of the vehicle.

Vehicles most recently added to the recall list include those made by Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Tesla and Volkswagen. However, within the past few months over 3.5 million vehicles built by Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Jeep, Ram, Ford, Honda, Mazda and Toyota were also added to the recall.

What are the different types of implied warranties?

Consumer market experts in Charleston will tell you that it is good practice to ensure that anytime you make a significant purchase, that a warranty be associated with it. In many cases, items will come with an express warranty from a manufacturer that clearly spells out the circumstances under which it will cover the cost of repairing or replacing its product. Such warranties leave little room for interpretation. Retailers will sometimes also offer their own express warranties. Yet even in cases where they do not, implied warranties may still offer you some degree of protection

An implied warranty is one that automatically comes with the sale of goods. A seller does not have to state it when selling you a product because its provisions are implied in it offering up the product for purchase. According to the American Bar Association, there are three distinct types of implied warranties: 

  • Warranty of merchantability
  • Warranty of fitness for a particular purpose
  • Warranty of title and against infringement

What events qualify for leave under the FMLA?

For people who work in West Virginia, it is important to understand what protections are available to them by law to allow them to take care of family matters without the fear of losing their jobs. The Family and Medical Leave Act is a federal law that outlines the provisions for time away from one's job due to qualifying life events. Integral to this law is that the employee is guaranteed to return to a position of equal status and pay upon completion of their leave time.

The United States Department of Labor outlines the varying situations that may qualify a person to take leave under the FMLA. If you are married and your spouse requires care for a health condition, you may take FMLA benefits for this. This benefit is available to any married person, including someone in a same-sex marriage. Leave is also available to people who must care for an ill parent or child.

Couple files class action lawsuit against MoviePass

People in Charleston may often question what is the benefit of filing a class action lawsuit. Given that whatever award that may be netted from a class action must be split amongst the class participants, one might even question whether is it fiscally wiser to seek action on their own. Yet the strength of class action lawsuits lies in the commonality of their complaints. By demonstrating that multiple people have suffered the same injury (whether it be physical or financial) due to a similar cause, co-plaintiffs may be more likely to convince those hearing their cases of the validity of their claims. 

That may be the motivation behind a class action lawsuit recently filed against the company behind the once widely popular app MoviePass. The app's initial promise was that for its over-$100 subscription fee, users would be able to see one movie per day for a year. Yet changes to the app's terms of service reduced that promised amount to only three movies per month, and even those who stuck with the service complained of the limited availability of films and theaters they had to choose from. 

Dealer protections afforded by West Virginia's Lemon Law

Most assume that Lemon Laws only offer protection to consumers. Yet what about your role in the auto-buying process as an auto dealer? Being associated with a Lemon Law case can cause damage to your reputation, when in reality, you and your dealership may have played no role in the matter. You might also find that auto manufacturers may try to limit their own liability in such cases by deflecting the blame to you. Many in your same position have come to us here at The Grubb Law Group questioning exactly what their responsibilities are in a Lemon Law case. 

The answer depends on the nature of the purchaser's problem. If it is due to repairs done to a previously owned vehicle that your dealership failed to fully disclose, then your liability in the matter is quite clear. Yet what if the problem is that the car did not live up to the promises made in the manufacturer's warranty? The onus then shifts to the manufacturer to cover the cost of making the vehicle compliant with its warranty specifications. 

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The Grubb Law Group

The Grubb Law Group
1114 Kanawha Boulevard East
Charleston, WV 25301

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