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Total Articles: 10

Virginia Updates its Data Breach Notification Law to Include Tax Preparers

For the second consecutive year Virginia has amended its data breach notification law. In March 2017, in light of a warning issued by the IRS to all employers regarding the resurgence of a W-2 based cyber scam, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe approved, a first of its kind, amendment to Virginia’s data breach notification statute. The amendment required employers and payroll service providers to notify the Virginia Office of the Attorney General of “unauthorized access and acquisition of unencrypted computerized data containing a taxpayer identification number in combination with the income tax withheld for an individual”.

Virginia Uniform Trade Secrets Act Prohibits Improper Acquisition of Trade Secrets, Regardless of Subsequent Use

Misappropriation of trade secrets claims can sometimes be difficult to sustain. While evidence of the taking of a trade secret may be available, evidence of its subsequent use may not.

Virginia Supreme Court Refuses to Expand Bowman Doctrine for Wrongful Termination of an At-Will Employee

Executive Summary: In Bowman v. State Bank of Keysville, the Virginia Supreme Court first recognized an exception to the employment at-will doctrine based upon an employer’s violation of public policy in the discharge of an employee. In subsequent cases dealing with the Bowman exception, the Court has consistently characterized such exceptions as “narrow.” In its recent opinion in Francis v. National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences, Inc., a case handled by FordHarrison attorneys, the Court again limited the ability of plaintiffs to rely on Bowman to bring a wrongful discharge claim.

Virginia Responds to W-2 Phishing Scams with First of Its Kind Notification Requirement

As previously highlighted, in early February, the IRS issued a warning to all employers regarding the resurgence of a W-2 based cyber scam. Since the IRS warning, this type of scam has taken numerous victims.

Virginia Supreme Court Denies Expansion of Public Policy Exception for Wrongful Termination Claims

The Supreme Court of Virginia, in Francis v. National Accrediting Commission of Career Arts & Sciences, Inc., No. 160267 (Feb. 23, 2017), reaffirmed that the public policy exception to Virginia’s employment at-will doctrine is a narrow one. In Francis, the court held that to state a valid claim of wrongful termination based on public policy, an employee must allege either that the termination itself violated the public policy stated in the relevant statute, or that the employer prevented the employee from exercising statutory rights.

The Funny Guy Case is No Laughing Matter: Virginia Supreme Court Applies Res Judicata in Rejecting Contract Claim

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently issued an opinion applying the principles of res judicata to affirm the dismissal of a contract claim. In The Funny Guy, LLC v. Lecego, LLC, No. 160242 (Feb. 16, 2017), the plaintiff filed a second lawsuit asserting alternative legal claims after its first lawsuit was dismissed. The court held that if alternative claims qualify for joinder under the “same transaction or occurrence” standard, they likewise constitute res judicata under Rule 1:6 of the Supreme Court of Virginia. This decision has significant implications for litigants in Virginia courts, especially in cases involving settlement agreements.

Virginia Governor Issues Executive Order to Combat Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination Among State Contractors

Virginia law does not currently prohibit discrimination on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity. However, as Governor Terry McAuliffe stated in a news release on January 5, 2017, “Starting today, the Commonwealth of Virginia will not do business with entities that discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” As a result, employers seeking to conduct business with the Commonwealth will now need to revamp their antidiscrimination policies to obtain procurement contracts valued at more than $10,000.

Amorphous No More – Virginia Defines "Reasonable Notice" of Termination as "Effectual Notice" in the At-Will Employment Context

The Supreme Court of Virginia, in Johnston v. William E. Wood & Associates, Inc., No. 151160 (June 2, 2016), recently answered the question of what constitutes "reasonable notice" for terminating an at-will employee. The question has been an open one for over 100 years in Virginia. The court’s answer: Reasonable notice is "effectual notice," and can be immediate, such as when an employer tells an employee that her employment is terminated “effective immediately.” In rendering this decision, the court reinforced the Commonwealth's strong adherence to the traditional employment-at-will doctrine, and further buttressed its reputation as "employer-friendly.”

Virginia OSHA Errs in Drafting Injury and Illness Reporting Requirements

Federal OSHA’s Occupational Injury and Illness Recording and Reporting Requirements (effective January 1, 2015) require employers to report in-patient hospitalizations, amputations and loss of an eye within 24 hours.

Blocked: Managing Social Media at Work Under Virginia’s New Privacy Law

With social media pervading all facets of society (no less than 67 percent of Americans are regular users), businesses have long been concerned with their employees’ potentially detrimental social media activities. As these concerns proliferated among Virginia’s business community, many employers saw fit to demand access to their applicants’ and employees’ social media accounts. Privacy activists cried foul and, in response, Virginia joined dozens of other states last month by imposing limits on employer access to such accounts. This new law demands careful response by employers and those advising them.