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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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Posts tagged Virginia.
Can Virginia Employees Still Get Paid Leave Under the FFCRA After Businesses Reopen and Schools Close?

As Virginia businesses are beginning to reopen for work under Governor Ralph Northam’s Order easing many COVID-19-related business restrictions, most public and private school systems in the Commonwealth are beginning to wind down the school year and close for summer break. The dichotomy of openings and closings raises a key question for many workers with school-age children (and their employers): Am I able to continue to qualify for paid sick leave under the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (EPSLA) and emergency family and medical leave under the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (EFMLEA)?

Virginia Adds a "Ban the Box" Law for Pot Possession

Ban-the-box restrictions have increased in popularity among U.S. states and localities during the last decade. “Ban the box” refers to laws that variously prohibit or restrict employers from requiring applicants for employment to divulge their criminal history through a check box on an application for employment. The theory behind “ban the box” statutes is that they promote hiring practices that give applicants a fair chance and require employers to judge individual job candidates on their merits, instead of automatically disqualifying those who have a criminal history.

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.

Virginia Employers’ Liability for Armed Security Guards and Workplace Violence

Workplace violence has become a growing concern for businesses across the country. In Virginia, employers of all sizes are actively considering, many for the first time, whether it would be prudent to have extra security personnel on hand and wondering whether they can be held liable for actions taken by security guards on their premises. The good news for employers in the Commonwealth is that such liability can be mitigated with the right policies in place.

Employer Risks in Using Employment-Related Criminal Background Checks, Part 2

Part 1 of this article can be found here.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act

Having considering the perils summarized above, an employer who still decides to use employee criminal background checks faces additional restrictions under other federal statutory provisions, namely the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”). An employer who uses consumer reports to make employment decisions, including hiring, retention, promotion or reassignment, must comply with the FCRA. The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) enforces the FCRA.

Cunningham v. Feinberg: Virginia Employers May be Answerable in Maryland Courts for Unpaid Wages

In a case with potential significance for many Virginia employers, the Court of Appeals of Maryland recently decided in Cunningham v. Feinberg that the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (“MWPCL”) may be applicable to unpaid wage claims arising from employment agreements entered into in Virginia. Thus, a Virginia employer that does not exercise care in the payment of wages under a contract entered into with an employee who will be performing work in Maryland may find itself embroiled in a claim for unpaid wages, statutory treble damages, attorney’s fees and costs of litigation.

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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.

Payroll Debit Card

In recent years, an increasing number of employers have begun using Payroll Debit Cards to pay employees who are unable or unwilling to sign up for direct deposit.  Payroll Debit Cards or “Paycards” are similar to reloadable credit cards and gift cards.  Instead of receiving paychecks, the employee receives the card which resembles a standard credit/debit card.  Employees are then able to use the card as a standard debit card to withdraw cash, transfer funds and to make purchases.

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In 1997, the Virginia General Assembly passed a law providing savings to employers who establish "Drug-Free" workplace policies.  The discount is currently 5% from the Workers' Compensation insurance policy premium.  For larger companies, this can be quite a significant savings.

Additionally, some organizations and individuals doing business with the government are required to provide a drug-free workplace for employees. This would include organizations with federal government contracts in excess of $100,000, organizations receiving federal grant funding, as well as individual contractors and grant recipients.  Subcontractors and subgrantees do not fall under this requirement.

There are several sources of good information regarding setting up a drug-free workplace policy:

  1. Department of Labor:  the website provides a great deal of information to businesses on how to setup a drug-free workplace policy including the "drug-free workplace policy builder" which guides individuals through a set of questions to help build the policy.
  2. Small Business Administration:  links to information pertaining particularly to small businesses and government contractors.