Employment Law Updates

On Friday, March 27, the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted. The goal of the new law is to boost the economy with provisions that will provide direct payments to individuals and relief for businesses, including provisions that will impact:

The Department of Labor has provided a model workplace poster concerning the new emergency paid sick and family leave requirements of the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) which takes effect April 1. The poster for non-federal employees can be found on the DOL’s website at https://www.dol.gov/sites/dolgov/files/WHD/posters/FFCRA_Poster_WH1422_Non-Federal.pdf. 

Yesterday, March 23, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 53 requiring the closing of certain businesses. The order can be found online at

This is the first in a series of our blogs about coronavirus issues.

We have received several inquiries about whether employers may take employees’ temperatures to determine if they have the coronavirus. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits employers from making medical inquiries of employees or requiring medical examinations unless they are job related and consistent with business necessity. The EEOC has now issued guidance on this subject.

Classifying a worker as an “independent contractor” rather than an employee is attractive to employers for several reasons. Whereas employees have taxes withheld from their paychecks and have legal protections such as the minimum wage law, unemployment benefits, and workers’ compensation insurance, independent contractors are considered to be self-employed. As such, independent contractors are responsible for paying their own taxes and benefits such as health insurance expenses and for setting their own work schedules. The availability of workers compensation benefits and unemployment insurance is also limited when a worker is classified as an independent contractor. Virginia lawmakers have passed legislation in an attempt to stop employer misclassification of employees as independent contractors.

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