The Katherine Johnson and Dorothy Vaughan Fair Pay Act, or HB4885, was sponsored by Delegate Fleischauer in the 2020 session. The bill would have allowed employees to discuss their wages with each other and would have forbidden employer policies penalizing employees for discussing their pay. It is named to honor two of the three women from Hidden Figures, both with West Virginia ties, and both of whom suffered from wage discrimination throughout their lives. Allowing employees to discuss wages is a key component in obtaining equal pay for equal work - if employees are forbidden from discussing wages, they might never know they'd been underpaid for years, which is what happened to the woman in the famous Lily Ledbetter case decided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The personal losses caused by such policies can be huge, in terms of an employee's self-worth, family income, retirement, and social security. Delegate Fleischauer has sponsored different versions of this bill for several years, attempting to craft a version that would win passage, and not once has the Republican leadership allowed a vote on it. The bill would apply to any person in a protected class, not just women.
Delegate Fleischauer was a sponsor of HB 2006 in 2017, which increases penalties for violating the state’s whistle-blower statute. All too often, public employees who report fraud or wrong-doing, which is a service to the state and to taxpayers, are fired in retaliation for reporting. Often, they fight for years before they are vindicated. In addition to backpay and reinstatement, the normal remedies, this bill permits the termination of the boss who retaliated against the whistle-blower, which helps correct the unfairness and imbalance of power.
Responding to a local issue in which an employer had a hidden camera in a locker room, Delegate Fleischauer sponsored and passed HB 2985 in 1999. Our Code now bans electronic surveillance of employees in employee areas, such as locker and lunch rooms, restrooms, shower rooms, and employee lounges.