Man accuses lounge of wage payment violations

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 13, 2015

CHARLESTON – A former employee is suing Hookah & Wine Lounge for violating the West Virginia Wage Payment & Collection Act.

On Aug. 11, Michael Wills entered into an agreement with Hookah & Wine Lounge and Lindsay Runnion in which he would  remodel the defendants' location, assist in developing the business and hiring employees, according to a complaint filed Dec. 22 in Kanawha Circuit Court.

Wills claims in exchange, the defendants agreed that Wills would receive a base salary of $400 per week and receive $.49 per mil when his personal vehicle was being used for business purposes.

On Aug. 15, the defendants signed a lease for a building in Charleston and the following day, Wills began remodeling the location to the defendants' specifications and continued to do so until the business opened to the public, according to the suit.

Wills claims on Sept. 12, the day of the opening, the defendants terminated his employment, informed him that he would not be compensated for the last week performed and, under threat of physical violence, he was asked to leave the premises immediately.

Prior to his termination, he had worked approximately four weeks and drove approximately 1,213 miles related to his employment for which he was never compensated, according to the suit.

Wills claims the defendants failure to pay his wages in full no later than the next regular payday or four business days, in violation of the West Virginia Wage Payment & Collection Act.

Wills is seeking compensatory damages in the amount of $2,194.37 and liquidated damages in the amount of $6,583.11 with pre- and post-judgment interest. He is being represented by Mark W. Kelley and David S. Hughart of Ray, Winton & Kelley PLLC.

The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Joanna Tabit.

Kanawha Circuit Court case number: 14-C-2220

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