Virginia News & Analysis

  • Legal concerns when highly contagious diseases strike the workplace

    The reports of measles outbreaks in several communities around the country have been on virtually everyone's mind over the last few months. As those reports serve to emphasize, if proper precautions such as vaccinations aren't taken, infectious diseases can wreak havoc not only in your community but also in your workplace. Accordingly, you should be concerned about an outbreak of measles or some other highly contagious infection such as influenza spreading among your employees.

  • 2nd bite of the apple does the trick: Case dismissed

    Getting a discrimination lawsuit dismissed without a trial is never easy. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to mount a legal defense against a discrimination claim filed by one of your employees that can resolve the case in your favor before you need to face a jury. A recent case filed by the former deputy chief of the Bedford police force is illustrative.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).

  • Agency Action

    NLRB reveals rulemaking plans. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in May announced its rulemaking priorities, which include proceeding with its rulemaking on a standard for joint employment. The Board's agenda also includes plans for rulemaking in the following areas: representation-case procedures; standards for blocking charges, voluntary recognition, and the formation of bargaining relationships in the construction industry; the standard for determining whether students who perform services at private colleges or universities in connection with their studies should be considered employees; and standards for access to an employer's private property.

  • Workplace Trends

    Think you've made a hire? Maybe not. A survey from staffing firm Robert Half shows that more than a quarter of workers (28%) have backed out of a job offer after accepting the position. Why would a jobseeker do that? The survey says 44% of those changing their minds backed out after receiving a better offer from another company. For 27%, a counteroffer from their current employer led to the change of heart. In 19% of the cases, the jobseeker reported hearing bad things about the company after receiving the offer. The cities where jobseekers are more likely to renege are San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago, Houston, Austin, and Miami.

  • Is obesity protected by ADA? Virginia federal court weighs in

    A spate of recent lawsuits is requiring courts in Virginia and around the country to wrestle with whether an employer violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) if it refuses to hire or fires an employee for being overweight. Medical experts have said we're facing an obesity epidemic, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently found almost 40 percent of American adults are obese. Therefore, how the courts address ADA coverage for obesity will have a profound impact on how broadly the statute's protections extend in the workplace.

  • Workers' comp covers emotional distress

    We often think of workers' compensation as applying to employees who sustain a physical injury while at work. And when they do, we need to file a first report of injury (FROI) about the circumstances with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission (VWCC). However, workers' comp benefits aren't limited to physical injuries. Your employees may be entitled to the benefits even without a physical injury when they suffer emotional trauma from a workplace event. And as with physical injuries, you're obligated to file an FROI with the commission.

  • Does Title VII protect LGBT workers? The arguments pro and con

    Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long- unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • September 30 deadline looms for newly required EEO-1 data

    Employers required to submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are venturing into uncharted territory as they work to collect newly required information due by September 30. While they may be accustomed to submitting traditional EEO-1 information—data on employees' race/ethnicity and gender, or what's being called Component 1 data—this year they also must compile data on compensation and hours worked, or what's being called Component 2 data.

  • Feeling stressed? Take it outside

    We all need a breath of fresh air sometimes. With summer starting up, we should be able to find plenty of ways to get away from our desks—even just for a break. And Alaska's natural beauty can be a perfect cure for employees' work-related stress. This article addresses the unwanted consequences of work stress and the benefits of encouraging employees to spend time outside.