Virginia Employer Law

I Found My Employee’s Resignation Notice on Her Desk—Is This Considered Notice?

Posted on August 3, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan
Posted in Other

The Situation: You have an employee who has been acting somewhat disgruntled.  One night, after hours, you come across an envelope on her desk with your name on it that contains a letter saying that she is resigning and her last day will be in two weeks. She shows up in the morning and you tell her that you are accepting her resignation effective immediately.  She then seeks unemployment benefits—could you be on the hook?…


Use of Staffing Companies and Joint Employer Status

Posted on July 27, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: Your company has a contract with a staffing company whereby the staffing company provides you with employees for particular positions.  These contract employees enter into employment agreements with the staffing company.  These employment agreements specifically state that if a company contracting with the staffing company to provide services asks that the employee be removed from the site based on dissatisfaction with his or her performance, the staffing company has the right to terminate the employment agreement.  One of your contract employees working for you through the arrangement with the staffing company claims that another employee has sexually harassed her.  You investigate and end up firing the alleged offender, but also ask the staffing company to remove the complaining contracting employee from the site.  Can you face liability under Title VII as a joint employer?…


Hundreds of Thousands of Dollars and Agreement to Provide Future Training To Settle One of EEOC’s First Sexual Orientation Discrimination Lawsuits

Posted on July 20, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: One of your supervisors regularly makes jokes about the sexual orientation of one of your female employees—along the lines of how he would like to turn her back into a woman and how she would look good in more feminine attire.  She complains about the supervisor’s comments.  If she is subsequently fired, could you face a retaliation claim under Title VII?…


Jezebel Comment Leads to Hostile Work Environment Claim

Posted on July 13, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: During the interview of a prospective new employee, one of your male supervisors comments on a female employee’s attractiveness.  After the employee is hired, the same supervisor repeatedly and frequently comments on the employee’s appearance and attire.  The supervisor then begins calling her a Jezebel.   She quits, citing the problem with the supervisor as the reason. Could you be facing a claim of hostile work environment?…


Watch Out-Steeper Civil Penalties Up Ahead

Posted on July 6, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: You can face civil penalties if the DOL determines that you have violated any of the laws that its departments help to enforce—including, for example, OSHA and the FLSA.  Some of these penalties have stayed at the same amount for the last twenty years (or even longer).  But recently, as a result of an act passed by Congress directing agencies to adjust their penalties for inflation, the DOL has published a new rule increasing the civil penalties that will apply for certain violations.…


You Fired Me Because I’m an Alcoholic—Is that Discrimination?

Posted on June 29, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: You have an employee that has suffered from severe alcoholism for some time.  After a couple of instances where he fails a breathalyzer while on the job, you fire him.  You tell him he can come back if he completes an intensive alcohol rehab program.  He enrolls in such a program and then after completion, applies for a job.  You decide not to hire him.  Should you be worried about a claim of disability discrimination?…


Employee Wellness Programs—New EEOC Input

Posted on June 22, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: Because you want to encourage your workforce to be healthy, you decide to implement an employee wellness program.  What are some of the steps should you take to make sure your wellness program does not violate the ADA?…


Is Advance Notice of Termination Required?

Posted on June 15, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan
Posted in Other

The Situation: Based on your current business needs, you decide to terminate a long-standing employee.  You make the termination effective immediately.  Does the employee have a right to claim that she should have been given advance notice of her termination?…


Same-Sex Training Policy Results in Millions in Liability?

Posted on June 8, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: For a number of reasons, including trying to avoid any potential sexual harassment claims, you implement a policy under which you only allow job candidates to be trained by employees of the same gender prior to completing the hiring process.  Based on a smaller pool of female employees who can train them, female applicants end up having to wait quite a while to receive the necessary training (and thus less are hired).  Does this constitute discrimination?…


Could Drinking a Beer Constitute a Legitimate Use of FMLA Leave?

Posted on June 1, 2016 by Elaine I. Hogan

The Situation: You have an employee who has requested intermittent FMLA leave because of some mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety. One morning, the employee tells his supervisor that he needs to use some of this leave because he is experiencing severe stress and anxiety. Another employee reports to you that as the employee was clocking out, he ran into a coworker who was also leaving the jobsite and they made plans to have lunch. You send someone to the restaurant to confirm that the employee is there and he observes the employee drinking a beer. You end up firing the employee. Can he bring a claim of FMLA retaliation against you?…

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