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31 Jan

January 2020 Virginia HR Legal Updates

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New Restrictions on Nondisclosure and Confidentiality Agreements

What happened?
A new Virginia statute limits employers’ use of nondisclosure and confidentiality agreements with respect to “sexual assault” as a condition of employment.

What are the details?
Under the new law, “Nondisclosure or Confidentiality Agreements; Sexual Assault, Condition of Employment” (Va. Code § 40.1-28.01), employers may not require job applicants or current employees to execute nondisclosure agreements that would conceal the details of any “sexual assault” claim an employee may have against the employer. The statute provides that any such agreement will be treated as against public policy and therefore, void and unenforceable.

“Sexual assault” is not defined. However, the statute applies to claims arising under Virginia laws on rape (Va. Code § 18.2-61), forcible sodomy (§ 18.2-67.1), aggravated sexual battery (§ 18.2-67.3), and sexual battery (§ 18.2-67.4).

The statute is narrowly tailored to apply to applicants and current employees. It does not restrict nondisclosure or confidentiality agreements with former employees. Therefore, nondisclosure and confidentially provisions in severance and settlement agreements, which typically are executed when an employee is no longer working for an employer, are not affected by the new law.

What do employers need to do?
Virginia employers should review their employment agreements, nondisclosure or confidentially agreements, and employee handbook provisions that applicants and current employees are required to sign and ensure they comply with the new law.




New Requirements for Wage Payment Statements Applies to All Employees

What happened?
Effective January 1, 2020, an amendment to the Virginia Payment of Wage Law will now require employers to provide employees with a written statement by paystub or online accounting.

What are the details?
The new required, written statement must include:

  1. The name and address of the employer;
  2. The number of hours worked during the pay period;
  3. The rate of pay;
  4. The gross wages earned by the employee during the pay period; and
  5. The amount and purpose of any deductions.

The law applies to all employees, even those who are not paid on an hourly basis, such as salaried and piece work employees.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) also stated that for salaried, piece work employees, and others who are not traditionally paid on an hourly basis, it would not enforce the requirement until July 1, 2020. The delay in the enforcement of this policy applies only to the hours-of-work requirement, not to any other provisions of the Virginia Payment of Wage Law.

What do employers need to do?
Employers affected by the new law should review and update their payroll practices to ensure compliance. They also should review and revise any employee handbook policies dealing with wage statements or timekeeping.