01 May

April 2020 Virginia HR Legal Updates

Posted at

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in

Restrictions on Non-Essential Businesses

What happened?
The governor signed an order with restrictions on non-essential businesses.

What are the details?
Any retail establishment that is a non-essential business must limit all in-person shopping to no more than 10 patrons per establishment.

What do employers need to do?
Comply with the requirements above and ensure staff are trained on proper protocols.

Resources
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/virginia-extends-restrictions-nonessential-businesses

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Anti-Discrimination

What happened?
The Virginia Values Act was signed into law and is effective on July 1, 2020.

What are the details?
The current non-discrimination protections in employment extend to individuals based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This generally applies to all employers with 15 or more employees, but additional employers are covered under the following circumstances:

  1. More than five employees – Discharge based on race, color, religion, national origin, status as a veteran, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions (including lactation).
  2. More than five, less than 20 employees – Discharge based on age.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure no employment decisions are made based on protected classes as outlined above.

Resources
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/virginia-enacts-new-legislation-offering-additional-protection-workers

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Non-Compete Agreements

What happened?
On July 1, 2020, it will be illegal in Virginia to require low-wage workers to sign non-compete agreements.

What are the details?
Low-Wage Worker: Employee whose average weekly earnings are less than average weekly wage of the Commonwealth. This will be $1,137 per week come July 1, 2020. To calculate the weekly wage, the employer will need to take the weekly average over the previous 52 weeks (or entire length of employment if employed for less than 52 weeks).

Low-wage workers also include interns, students, apprentices, or trainees who make less than the weekly average of the Commonwealth. This law also includes contractors who are paid less than the median hourly wage of the Commonwealth. 

What do employers need to do?
Ensure low-wage workers do not sign non-compete agreements after July 1, 2020. Each violation will be fined as a civil penalty of $10,000.

Post a copy of the law as of July 1, 2020.

Resources
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/virginia-enacts-new-legislation-offering-additional-protection-workers

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Workers Misclassification

What happened?
On April 11, 2020, additional protections were put in place governing worker misclassifications.

What are the details?
Effective January 1, 2021, Virginia will use the IRS guidelines to determine if an individual is an independent contractor or an employee. Violations of this law will be subject to $1,000 civil penalties per misclassified individual.

Effective July 1, 2020, misclassified individuals may bring individual civil suits against an employer. If the court finds in favor of the misclassified individual, the employer may be responsible to pay for all back wages, attorney fees, and benefits.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure staff are classified properly as independent contractors or employees.

Resources
https://www.littler.com/publication-press/publication/virginia-enacts-new-legislation-offering-additional-protection-workers

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Wage Theft

What happened?
The Virginia Wage Payment Act amendment was signed into law in April 2020.

What are the details?
Effective July 1, 2020, an employee will have the right to sue an employer who has not paid all wages due. This covers all employees and employers.

What do employers need to do?
Ensure all employees are fairly compensated for all work completed in compliance with the Virginia Wage Payment Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Resources
https://www.natlawreview.com/article/virginia-wage-payment-act-now-provides-meaningful-remedies-to-wage-theft-victims

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