Employment & Labor

Vlaming Decision Article

Supreme Court of Virginia’s Vlaming Decision is a Legal Earthquake with Major Implications for Virginia Businesses, Organizations, and Government Entities

Employment & Labor

I. Introduction and Executive Summary On December 14, 2023, a legal earthquake hit Virginia when the Supreme Court of Virginia issued its decision in Vlaming v. West Point School Board, 895 S.E.2d 705 (Va. 2023).  But, to the extent there is a “legal” Richter scale, that earthquake has yet to register.  Headlines covering the decision noted the result dealing with a hot-button social issue: a teacher fired for refusing to use a student’s preferred pronouns on religious grounds could continue to pursue his case against the school board for alleged violations of constitutionally protected religious rights.  But that context has […]

Pro-Employee Whistleblower Standard Embraced by SCOTUS Article

Pro-Employee Whistleblower Standard Embraced by SCOTUS

Employment & Labor

On February 8, 2024, a unanimous United States Supreme Court ruled that whistleblowers bringing a retaliatory discharge claim under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (“SOX”) are not required to prove that the employer acted with “retaliatory intent,” but need only prove that their “protected activity” was a “contributing factor” in the employer’s unfavorable personnel action.  The ruling reversed a Second Circuit decision which had overturned a $900,000 jury verdict in favor of a former employee against UBS Securities, LLC.[1] The Court’s ruling is yet another disappointment for businesses hoping for greater judicial protection from the growing number of retaliation claims.[2] Justice Sotomayor’s […]

New 2024 “Low Wage” Salary Level for Virginia Non-Compete Agreements Article

New 2024 “Low Wage” Salary Level for Virginia Non-Compete Agreements

Employment & Labor

As of July 1, 2020, Virginia became one of twelve (12) states that imposed a ban  on the use of non-compete agreements for “low wage employees.”[1] At the time of adoption, the salary threshold for a “low wage employee” was $59,124 annually (or $1,137 per week). This salary threshold was not fixed by statute, but instead, the General Assembly adopted a moving target definition that ties the “low wage” salary threshold to the “average weekly wage of the Commonwealth” as determined by the Virginia Employment Commission. The practical effect is that a new average weekly wage is calculated before or […]

The DOL’s New Employee-Friendly Independent Contractor Rule Article Graphic

The DOL’s New Employee-Friendly Independent Contractor Rule

Employment & Labor

Earlier this month, the Department of Labor (DOL) issued a new final rule intended to be effective March 11, 2024 that will address when a worker can be properly classified as an independent contractor. The misclassification of workers has been an issue of concern for several years, especially for worker-right advocates, which led to new legislation being passed in Virginia and many other states.[1] On the other hand, many business groups, especially those which rely heavily on independent contractors, such as those in the trucking and construction industry, and others in the gig-economy, are concerned that the new regulations unfairly […]