West Virginia Holiday Pay Dispute Wages On

Firefighters in Morgantown, West Virginia have demanded a public hearing with the city’s civil service commission following allegations of retaliation for refusing to settle a 2019 lawsuit over holiday pay. In June 2019, fifty-eight Morgantown firefighters filed the lawsuit alleging the City of Morgantown violated a West Virginia law that requires either paid time off, or time-and-one-half pay for all hours worked on certain recognized holidays. Here is more on the initial suit.

More recently, the city offered the firefighters a $1.7 million dollar settlement to resolve the holiday pay lawsuit. The firefighters refused the city’s settlement. Shortly after this refusal, the city eliminated a long-standing policy that provided firefighters with shift-differential pay for working the evening and overnight portions of their 24-hour shifts. According to the firefighters, this resulted in an annual pay reduction of around $2,000 per firefighter.

The firefighters claim West Virginia law requires the city provide a written statement outlining the reasons behind any pay reduction and that they are entitled to a hearing before the city’s civil service commission. In response to the firefighters claims, city administrators counter that the elimination of a shift differential was not a pay reduction, but instead a simple re-application of city policy that is intended to treat all city employees more fairly.   

One thing is for certain. We have not heard the last on this one.

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