Virginia Employer Law
Can a Company Trade Services for Pay?
The Situation: A fitness studio offers its customers the opportunity to trade a free monthly membership for a few hours of cleaning each week. It is a completely voluntary arrangement. Could this later come back to bite the fitness studio?…READ MORE
“But I Was Just Kidding!” Is That a Defense to a Discrimination Claim?
The Situation: During an industry-wide conference related to success strategies, a company executive is taking notes. The notes include a page with the header “Attracting and Retaining employees,” and underneath, writes “Fire all the old people.” The owner claims he was only kidding when he wrote this and was referring to a similar statement made in a joking manner by another company’s president. Eight months later, a 77-year old employee is terminated. Can he bring a claim of age discrimination based upon these notes?…READ MORE
Could Denying A Request for an Extension of Medical Leave Violate the ADA?
The Situation: You have an employee who has been out on medical leave because of a serious health condition. But before his scheduled return-to-work-date, the employee requests an additional two months of leave to undergo further medical treatment. If you deny this request, could you be violating the ADA?…READ MORE
Could Supervisor’s Statements Regarding Biracial Dating Create a Hostile Work Environment?
The Situation: Caucasian employee has an African American spouse with whom she has several children. The employee’s supervisor begins complaining to her about his concerns that his daughter is dating an African American man and talking to her about the potential problems that might arise out of this relationship, including consequences within his extended family and for his daughter professionally. The employee tells the supervisor that she feels uncomfortable with these conversations, but he continues to make similar complaints and comments. Could the employer be found to have violated Title VII?…READ MORE
What Counts as Bad Faith Under the FMLA?
The Situation: An employee requests to use a month of FMLA leave based upon an injury and the request is approved. The employee tells HR that she has an appointment with her doctor on the day before she expects to return (which happens to be a Friday). During that doctor’s appointment, the employee is advised to stay out of work through Monday. But the employee does not notify the employer of this development—just shows up to work on Monday. If the employer deems the employee to have voluntarily resigned her position on Friday and thus terminates her employment that same day, is that a FMLA violation? And could it entitle the employee to liquidated damages?…READ MORE
Two Week Countdown to Start Using Revised I-9 Form
The Situation: In July of this year, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a revised version of Form I-9 for employers to use to establish the eligibility of individuals for employment under the Immigration Reform and Control Act. Although this new form has been available since July 17, until September 17, employers had the choice of using the previous version. But as of September 18, all employers must begin using the I-9 with the revision date of July 17, 2017.…READ MORE
Does Employee’s Falsification of Employment Application Automatically Defeat Retaliation Claim?
The Situation: An employee complains that he is being harassed based on his sexual orientation and the fact that his partner is African American. Not long after he lodges this complaint, the employer discovers that although the employee stated on his job application that he graduated from community college, he had not actually graduated, but only took a number of classes. After the employee is terminated, he brings a claim of retaliation under Title VII. Can the employer get the claim thrown out on the grounds that the employee falsified his employment application?…READ MORE
Can You Cut a Pregnant Employee’s Shifts to Avoid Unpredictability?
The Situation: A restaurant has an automatic scheduling system which allows employees to input their availability and then generates a schedule accordingly a few weeks in advance. One of the restaurant’s servers is pregnant and quickly approaching her due date, although has stated her intention to work until she has the baby. In fear of ending up short-staffed, a manager tells the pregnant employee he is going to take her out of the automatic scheduling system, but will still give her shifts manually. Is this discrimination?…READ MORE
Does Time on Mobile Device Support a Claim for Unpaid Overtime?
The Situation: You have employees who are doing work after hours on their mobile devices. Although you have a procedure for submission of any overtime worked, these employees do not report these hours as time worked. Can they bring a claim against you for unpaid overtime under the FLSA, arguing that you should have known they were working after hours on these devices?…READ MORE
“Caring Supervisor” or Sexual Harassment?
The Situation: A supervisor has a history of making some inappropriate statements to a female employee under his direction, including commenting on her physical appearance. When the female employee ends up facing possible disciplinary action, the supervisor meets with her. He puts his hand on hers, tells her he doesn’t want to lose her and says he hopes they can work something out to keep her. Could this be quid pro quo sexual harassment?…READ MORE