Virginia Employment Law Journal

Virginia Employment Law Journal

Happy Birthday: The Americans with Disabilities Act Turns Twenty-Five

Posted in Legislation

ADA Anniversary

 

July 26, 2015 marked the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”), which created comprehensive federal protections for individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including the workplace, providing equal access to the same employment opportunities and benefits available to persons without disabilities. In signing the law into effect twenty-five years ago, President George H.W. Bush noted:

With today’s signing of the landmark Americans [with] Disabilities Act, every man, woman and child with a disability can now pass through once-closed doors into a bright era of equality, freedom and independence.

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Virginia Employers’ Liability for Armed Security Guards and Workplace Violence

Posted in HR Policies

security guards blog title (00642399xAC2B5)

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.

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

Posted in Hiring, HR Policies

Criminal Background Checks

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.

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

Posted in Hiring, HR Policies

Criminal Background Checks

Use of employment-related background checks by employers to discover information about the work history, education, criminal record and financial history of job applicants has become ubiquitous. In one recent survey of employers, 92% of those responding stated that they subjected all or some of their job candidates to criminal background checks. The reasons for increased employer reliance on criminal background checks are straightforward – to control theft and fraud and address heightened concerns about potential liability for workplace violence and negligent hiring. It is not illegal for an employer to ask questions about an applicant’s or employee’s background, or to require a background check. However, anytime an employer uses that information to make an employment decision, irrespective of how the employer has obtained the information, the employer must comply with federal anti-discrimination and credit reporting laws, and state and local restrictions.

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DOL Releases Proposed FLSA Overtime Regulation Amendments

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act, Overtime

FLSA changes

 

The Department of Labor (DOL) has just released its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to the white collar exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The amendments, if passed, will significantly increase the minimum salary test (from $23,660 to $50,440) for hours worked over 40 in a work week. The amendments will have far-reaching impacts on many industries that will need to reclassify many currently exempt employees and corresponding wage and hour policies.

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Upcoming FLSA Changes & Shrinking of the White Collar Exemption: Now is the Time to Reassess Compliance and Update Your Policies

Posted in Fair Labor Standards Act

FLSA changes

In response to a directive from President Obama, the Department of Labor (DOL) has been working since Spring 2014 to revise the white collar exemption under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The revisions are expected to significantly increase the minimum salary test and the primary duties test.

What does the FLSA provide for and what is the white collar exemption?

The FLSA is a federal statute that establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping and child labor standards. The statute requires that most employees be paid, at least, the federal minimum wage and overtime pay at one and one-half the regular rate of pay for all hours worked over 40.

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Legal Implications of Take Your Dog to Work Day for Your Business

Posted in Employee Benefits

Take your dog to work day image

Take Your Dog to Work Day (“TYDTWDay”), sponsored by Pet Sitters International, is Friday, June 26, 2015. Every year, more than 10,000 companies participate, to celebrate dogs and encourage adoptions from local shelters.  This event also presents a great opportunity to partner with a local animal rescue, such as Arlington Chamber members Homeward Trails Animal Rescue and theAnimal Welfare League of Arlington.

If your company is considering allowing pets for the day, there are some legal implications to consider.

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New Law Limits Virginia Employers’ Access to Social Media Accounts

Posted in Legislation, Social Media

Social Media Post Title Image

Effective July 1, 2015, employers in Virginia will be prohibited from requesting usernames and passwords for social media accounts of current employees or applicants.  Specifically, Va. Code 40.1-28.7:5 will prohibit employers from:

  1. Requiring a current or prospective employee to disclose the username and password to his social media account;
  2. Requiring a current or prospective employee to add an employee, supervisor, or administrator to his list of contacts;
  3. Using any login information inadvertently obtained to access an employee’s social media account;
  4. Disciplining an employee for exercising his rights under this section;
  5. Refusing to hire an applicant for exercising his rights under this section.

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Virginia May Soon Join Maryland in Prohibiting Employers from Asking for Social Media Passwords

Posted in Legislation, Social Media

Social Media IconsVirginia appears poised to join Maryland and a handful of other states that ban employers from asking current employees and applicants for access to their social media accounts, like Facebook. Earlier this month, the Virginia legislature passed a bill that precludes an employer from requesting or compelling an employee to: 1) divulge passwords or usernames for the employee’s social media accounts; or 2) add the employer to the contacts associated with the employee’s social media accounts. The restrictions also apply to applicants for employment. It is still permissible under the law for an employer to seek access information to an employee’s social media accounts, but only if the information is reasonably needed to investigate allegations of unlawful employee activity or necessary to comply with other laws. Unless vetoed, the law will become effective by the end of March 2015, or sooner.

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All Legally Married Same-Sex Couples Now Covered Under FMLA

Posted in Employee Benefits, HR Policies

Rainbow LGBT pride flag in front of courthouseEffective March 27, 2015, the Family and Medical Leave Act, or FMLA, will extend coverage to all legally married same-sex couples to take FMLA leave to provide care for their spouse. FMLA leave entitles eligible employees, as defined by the statute, to take unpaid leave for a “qualifying event” for a period of up to 12 weeks. In addition to serious health conditions of the employee, qualifying events include the care of a spouse or child with a serious health condition and leave due to a spouse’s covered military service.

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