Employment Law Updates

Employers should be aware of a new Virginia law set to take effect July 1. Under the new statute, employers are not required to disclose the “personal identifying information” of current and former employees to third parties unless one of the specified exceptions applies. As signed into law on March 18, Virginia Code § 40.1-28.7:4 defines “personal identifying information” as home telephone number, mobile telephone number, email address, shift times, or work schedule.”  There are four exemptions specified in the law, allowing release of a current or former employee’s personal identifying information when it is required (1) pursuant to federal law that preempts the statute; (2) by a court order; (3) pursuant to a judicially issued warrant; or (4) by a subpoena in a pending civil or criminal case or by discovery in a civil case.

New regulations regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act issued by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) will go into effect tomorrow, March 8. These new regulations are not as extensive as others issued in the past, and many of the changes focus on military members and their families. For example, the regulations expand the definition of a qualifying exigency arising from a military

Part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) involves preventive care and wellness. Prior to the PPACA, company wellness programs such as smoking cessation or weight loss programs have been limited by restrictions of the Americans with Disabilities Act and HIPPA. As guidance to the PPACA, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has issued  concerning how employers can structure and operate their wellness programs. The programs can include incentive payments and premium discounts. Along with the proposed regulations, the DOL released a research paper, “,” which provides more information about wellness programs.

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division has released an Employee Guide to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), a 16-page, plain language booklet designed to answer common FMLA questions and clarify who can take FMLA leave and what protections the FMLA provides. Although the booklet is entitled “Employee Guide”, it contains some valuable basic information for employers. The Guide can be accessed on the Wage and Hour Division’s website: CLICK HERE.

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The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued a new guidance concerning the use of criminal background checks in the employment application process. The EEOC has cautioned employers in the past about the use of criminal background checks to automatically disqualify employment applicants, because of its potential discriminatory impact on certain minority groups. The new guidance discourages blanket exclusions of applicants who have been convicted of crimes, and encourages the use of “individualized assessments” to determine whether the exclusion of an applicant because of a criminal record is job related and consistent with business necessity.

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