CHARLESTON – A former West Virginia University professor is asking the court to award him over $25,000 he alleges he was underpaid during his nearly seven years of employment.
On Nov. 13, James E. Beichler filed suit in Kanawha Circuit Court against West Virginia University-Parkersburg. In his complaint and suit, filed with the assistance of Walt Auvil, with the Parkersburg law firm of Rusen and Auvil, Beichler alleges WVU-P shorted him $8,856 in pay.
According to court records, Beichler, a resident of Washington County, Ohio, was employed by WVU-P from August 2001 to May 2008. During that time was an associate professor in the natural sciences and mathematics division on a tenure track.
In May, Beichler was informed he no longer would be employed by WVU-P. The reason for his separation, records show, was because his classes "did not have a sufficient number of students."
At the time of his separation on May 16, WVU-P failed to pay Beichler in a timely fashion in accordance with the state Wage Payment and Collection Act. In his contract with WVU-P, Beichler was to be paid $432 per overload hour he taught.
In his suit, Beichler alleges pursuant to the act, he should have received his final paycheck of $3,240 by May 30, two weeks after his separation. However, he did not receive it until June 30.
Also, Beichler alleges in the Fall 2004, Spring 2005, Spring 2007, Fall 2007 and Spring 2008, he was not compensated for $7,128, or 16.5 hours worked. This does not include the four hours of independent study he was approved to supervise for two students in the Fall 2004 and Spring 2005 semesters.
Including the independent study, Beichler alleges he was not compensated $8,856. Due to civil penalties that allow for recovery of three times the wages not or untimely paid, Beichler maintains he's due $26,568 from WVU-P.
Along with recovery of wages, Beicher is asking he be awarded reasonable costs and attorney fees.
Originally, the case was filed on Aug. 5, but was voluntarily withdrawn on Oct. 1 due to the failure to notify the state Attorney General's Office. Kanawha County has jurisdiction in suits involving state agencies.
The case has been assigned to Judge James Stucky.
Kanawha Circuit Court Case No. 08-C-1502