PLEASANT VALLEY, W.Va. (WBOY) — A video from April 2022 has recirculated on Reddit depicting disgruntled employees arguing with their boss has been making the rounds online in recent weeks, bringing to the surface questions about West Virginia employment laws.
The video above shows now-former employees of AMBS in Pleasant Valley arguing with their supervisor over the firing of a co-worker, which the workers said resulted from them asking for raises. During the argument, you can hear the manager threatening to call the police if they don’t vacate the premises.
In the video, the person filming can be heard saying, “this is what happens when you ask for a raise.” He said he had been working for this company for seven years at minimum wage.
While the former employees are obviously upset in the video, what does state law say about the employer’s actions?
West Virginia is an “at-will” state, meaning that, in many cases, employers can fire employees at any time for any reason, or even no reason at all. Likewise, employees can quit under the same pretenses. However, there are exceptions, such as if a contract is signed between the two parties stating otherwise.
Some of the exceptions to this rule include:
- Employers are unable to discharge or discriminate against employees for filing a formal complaint, as stated in West Virginia State Code §21-3A-13
- It is unlawful for employers to refuse to hire, discharge or discriminate against any employee who privately uses tobacco, as stated in West Virginia State Code §21-3-19
- Employers are unable to require employees to submit to a polygraph test unless they work with certain controlled substances, law enforcement or the military, under West Virginia State Code §21-5-5B
- Employers are not able to fire employees for being summoned for and attending jury duty, under West Virginia State Code §52-3-1
12 News reached out to the employee who filmed the video, Alex “Tito” Mayers, as well as Todd Attley-Orme, the employee who was first seen arguing with the ex-boss. Both men were able to provide more context about the event that took place in the video.
They said that the employees of the office attempted to act collectively to discuss wage disputes with managers, who they believed were not giving people loyal to the company proper payment. The men then allege that they met resistance from their boss, who attempted to shut down the situation without hearing them out, which resulted in the argument shown in the video.
As he said in the video, Mayers was an employee of the company for seven years and said he had a second job, which was his primary source of income due to never receiving a raise at his first job. Attley-Orme, on the other hand, was a recent hire—only working for the company for about a month before being fired for what he described as sticking up for his coworkers.
Both Atley-Orme and Mayers said they were “at-will” employees, and they have not had any contact with their ex-boss or the company after their terminations.
Mayers provided an exclusive follow-up video showing the employees speaking to their now-former employer after they exited the building.
Mayers said he was “on the phone with [his] other job two minutes later saying ‘Hey, imma work full time now’ and I’ve just kinda been doing that ever since.” Meanwhile, Atley-Orme said after the event that he was “lucky enough to get an interview and now [he’s] a teacher-counselor to teens at-risk.” He went on to say that his new job was “definitely more rewarding.”
12 News also reached out to the employer, which declined to go on record.
If you believe you’ve been terminated from your job for unjust reasons, contact the West Virginia Division of Labor for information on what to do next.