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As employment law constantly changes, the attorneys at Bean, Kinney & Korman stay up to date on the law as it develops. Our blog topics focus on those changes and what you need to know about them, ranging from severance agreements and the FLSA to social media in the workplace and recent court decisions. If you are interested in having us cover a specific topic, please let us know.

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Employer Antibody Testing for COVID-19 Violates the ADA, According to New EEOC Guidance

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission posted an update on June 17, 2020 to its COVID-19 / ADA technical assistance for employers (A.7.) to address whether the ADA permits employers to require COVID-19 antibody or serologic testing before allowing employees to reenter the workplace. The ADA does not permit serologic testing, according to the EEOC. 

Virginia Enacts Dramatic and Far-Reaching Employment Law Protections, Part 2

This blog post follows Doug Taylor’s April 27, 2020 post about the recent wave of employee-friendly changes to Virginia law. In addition to the changes discussed in Doug’s post related to wage theft, non-competes, workplace discrimination, and whistleblower protections, new Virginia legislation imposes significant consequences on employers for misclassifying employees as independent contractors, substantially increases the minimum wage, and makes general construction contractors liable for subcontractors’ failure to pay wages.

Virginia Enacts Dramatic and Far-Reaching Employment Law Protections

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has signed into law nearly two dozen bills that provide significant new rights for Virginia employees, including legal protections to combat wage theft, prohibit non-compete covenants for low-wage workers, and expand the scope of the ban on workplace discrimination. Also signed into law by Governor Northam were enhanced employee whistleblower protections against retaliation for reporting suspected violations of state law or cooperating with law enforcement.

We will be publishing additional updates on these and other new Virginia employment laws, which essentially redefine the workplace for both Virginia employers and employees.

What’s Up When the Government is Shutdown: Employment Issues for Contractors

The partial federal government shutdown appears likely to continue into a second week, with no agreement on funding for the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, Justice Department and Interior Department, among other federal departments and agencies. For a second time this year, government contractors face the challenge of complying with a complex set of federal and state employment laws, while their federal contract work and workers remain idle. This article briefly identifies some of the issues affecting government contractors during the shutdown and provides guidance on how to navigate the issues.

July 24, 2017
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Topics Employment
New I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form Announced by USCIS

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) announced on July 17, 2017 that it has released a newly revised Form I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form.  Federal law requires all employers to complete a Form I-9 for each individual hired for employment in the United States. 

Employers can begin using the revised version of the Form I-9 now, or continue to use the previous version of the form (11/14/16 rev. date).  However, as of September 18, 2017, only the new Form I-9 will be acceptable.

What to Consider When Engaging Foreign Independent Contractors

In today’s global economy, it has become increasingly common for companies based in the United States to engage workers who live abroad for various purposes. U.S. companies often classify these workers as “independent contractors” to avoid having to navigate the employment landscape in other countries. However, U.S. companies should be aware of the potential pitfalls of misclassifying foreign workers, particularly in countries where employment laws tend to be more employee-friendly than U.S. law. Employers should consider the following factors when engaging foreign independent contractors to work abroad.

Employment Law Under the Trump Administration

Like it or not, Donald Trump is the 45th President of the United States of America.  Now that the initial shock has worn off, it’s time to evaluate how federal employment laws, regulations, and enforcement may shift under the Trump Administration. 

While President Trump has not spoken at length regarding employment law since taking office, his pro-business philosophy and nomination of Andrew F. Puzder, a former restaurant executive, for Secretary of Labor (Puzder later withdrew his name from consideration) suggests that the Trump Administration will be significantly more employer-friendly than the Obama Administration

Paid Leave Law in Montgomery County Maryland Is Expanded to Include Paid Parental Leave

On October 1, 2016, Montgomery County, Maryland (the “County”) joined the growing list of jurisdictions requiring paid sick leave for employees of all entities doing business in Montgomery County. The County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law (“Paid Leave Law”) is applicable to all employers doing business in the County.

This week, the County Council unanimously approved an expansion of the Paid Leave Law, effective as of November 1, 2016, to allow employees to use paid leave for the birth of a child or for the placement of a child with the employee for adoption or foster care. Employees will also be permitted to use paid leave to care for a newborn, newly adopted or newly placed child within one year of birth, adoption or placement of the child. The bill “is an important expansion of the [Paid Leave Law],” according to Tom Hucker, its lead sponsor, “to allow parents the flexibility to use their leave to spend time with their children.”

You can read an in-depth review of the Paid Leave Law here.

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As a follow up to my most recent post about the media coverage of the emerging trend of employers asking or requiring job applicants and/or current employees to provide their Facebook or other social media passwords, Maryland just passed legislation on Wednesday that bans employers from asking applicants and employees for their personal online passwords.

Maryland is the first state to enact legislation on this issue.  But other states are considering similar legislation, including California, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, South Carolina and Washington. Even Congress is considering a federal law that would protect applicants' and employees' privacy in their personal online passwords.  Virginia and DC have not yet addressed the issue.

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Terminated employees qualify for unemployment benefits when they are unemployed without fault on their part.  Recently the Virginia Court of Appeals determined that fault can include conduct that occurs outside of the workplace.

The Case

The case is Francis v. VEC & Wal-Mart Associates, Inc.  Francis was employed by Wal-Mart from 6/2006 through 4/2008.  During her time with Wal-Mart she had no workplace discipline issues.  Outside of work she was charged with felony welfare fraud.  Even though she was not required to do so, Francis disclosed the charges to her superiors.  Her superiors rewarded her openness by suspending Francis and eventually forcing her to resign in lieu of termination.