WHEELING, W.Va. (WTRF) — Ohio County employees filed three separate lawsuits Monday against the Ohio County Commission alleging improper wage and payment issues, according to Teresa Toriseva of Toriseva Law, attorney for the plaintiffs.
In the first complaint, 29 Ohio County sheriff’s deputies allege that they were denied at least one week of pay due to a payroll change. The plaintiffs allege they have been denied at least one week’s pay by way of the county switching the payroll to being paid ahead by two days to be being paid entirely in arrears.
In the second complaint, 31 county employees claim they were improperly paid during the COVID-19 pandemic, alleging that other county employees received full pay but worked half the hours when the plaintiffs did not. The plaintiffs allege they should have been paid the same as other county employees during COVID, that is to work half the hours for full pay.
This complaint alleges that then-Ohio County Administrator Greg Stewart told county employees at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 that they could work rotating shifts for distancing but that they would still receive their normal pay. Many employees in this group were sheriff’s deputies who allege they were not paid properly and only received a $1,000 hero pay in April 2020.
In the third complaint, 16 workers allege they were forced to use their own paid sick time to comply with county COVID quarantine policy or otherwise not coming to work when the reason they could not come to work was caused by a work event.
Toriseva explained that the county changed its payroll system from paying workers two days ahead to paying them in arrears. In one of the complaints, plaintiffs allege this conflicts with the county handbook and has affected payroll and benefits.
One employee paycheck was for one week of pay, but had two weeks of deductions taken out, says the complaint, which also alleges violations of the West Virginia Wage Payment and Collection Act.
Several Ohio County Sheriff’s Office employees previously filed a grievance over personal sick leave with the the Ohio County Commission, but the county refuses to pay. The employees are also asking for judgement, compensatory damages, interest, attorney fees, court costs and other relief.
Three different circuit judges are assigned to the three cases.