Conrad v. Charles Town Races, Inc

In Conrad v. Charles Town Races, Inc., 206 W. Va. 45, 521 S.E.2d 537 (1998), the Court was asked to determine whether a lower court correctly ruled that payments required under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) Act (for failure to give workers a full sixty-day notice and wages prior to a plant closing) were not "wages" under the Act. Disregarding the rubric used in describing the WARN payments (back pay), we considered and adopted the reasoning of other courts on this issue--that such payments are viewed as damages awarded for violation of a legislative act and not compensation for past services. Affirming the lower court's ruling, we held that the WARN payments were not "compensation for services rendered but were damages designed to compensate employees for an employer's failure to provide the required sixty days' notice prior to plant closure." 206 W. Va. at 50, 521 S.E.2d at 542.