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Book details employment laws in WV

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When Dinsmore's Brian Moore said he wanted to write about employment law in a way that even novices could understand, he wasn't kidding.

Moore's book, "The "Pocket Guide to West Virginia Employment Law," is chock full of tips that can help workers and bosses navigate employment waters. 

Its 118 pages cover everything from hiring and firing, working conditions, handbooks, policies and personnel files to wage payment, discrimination and harassment, medical and military leave and discipline.

Best of all, it truly is easy to read and, at less than $9, affordable — definitely not what you'd expect from a lawyer.

"I noticed I was getting a lot of the same questions, over and over," said Moore, a partner in Dinsmore's Charleston office. "I would know the answers, but I'd still look up the case law so I could get citations. 

"After a while, instead of looking it up every time, I started jotting them down — a quick summary of what the law was in that particular area, and the citation. Then when someone would ask me the same question again, I'd just email it to them to save them money and me time. It's worked out pretty well."

Moore has been practicing law for more than 12 years. He came to Dinsmore five years ago after stints at two other firms. For the past 10 years his focus has been employment and labor law, hence the book.

"Basically, I made it for myself," he said. "As happens with a lot of ideas, you realize there's a need and you make it for yourself. 

"I used it all the time myself, and then it dawned on me that other people could use it as well."

He calls it a reference manual, although he admits it's far from the scholarly treatise one would expect and usually finds. 

"It covers most of the questions I've ever received," he said. "And in addition to that, I went back and tried to cover just about every area of West Virginia employment law. That's the other thing — we have different issues here in West Virginia than they do in other states; our laws are different. 

"I tried to include all of those as well, so if a company is outside of West Virginia but has West Virginia employees, I think they'd find it useful as well."

While he doesn't see any one tip as being more important than another, Moore did say there are areas that tend to be more problematic than others, "like technology in the workplace." 

"People run into problems with things like social media policies, and there are areas where people trip up a lot — wage payment, drug testing, surveillance of employees," he said.

And everything in it applies to employees as much as it does employers. 

"They have the same questions, only in reverse," he points out.

Moore, though, says the book doesn't purport to offer legal advice and certainly doesn't eliminate the need to talk to lawyers, but it will save people some time and money. 

"There's a lot of things covered in the book that they might not have to call a lawyer about," he said. "I had the idea for the book in 2010 and worked on it on-and-off for almost three years, mostly on weekends. 

"I'd put in two or three hours at a time, and it took longer than anyone would have thought. I finally forced myself to finish it in 2013 to prove to myself I could do it, and I'm pleased with how it turned out. What's interesting is that it actually turned out kind of how I'd imagined it three years ago in my head."

He said he's had good feedback from clients who picked up a copy, "but I think my peers will find it very useful and it could help them in their practices."

Moore's already started working on his next book, which will focus on another of his passions — personal development.

"We can all accomplish more than we think we can," he said. "For example, cut back on TV and distractions, things like that. 

"You'd be amazed at the things you can accomplish in an hour or two of time."
Moore's Pocket Guide is available through Amazon and eBay.