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December 1 FLSA Overtime Rules Put on Hold!

November 23rd, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Elizabeth S. Olcott Twenty-one states asked the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas to grant an emergency preliminary injunction to postpone the implementation of the FLSA overtime rules set to go into effect on December 1, 2016. On Tuesday night, Judge Mazzant granted the preliminary injunction. Because of this ruling, […]

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Legal Relief for Flood Victims

August 19th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Katharine J. Westfall The recent news of torrential storms and widespread, record flooding in Louisiana and areas of the Deep South has raised the usual concerns associated with natural disaster. But in addition to government initiatives to provide suitable living conditions, food, water, and other resources to the region, another relief effort has […]

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An Argument for Decals over Hang-Tags

May 6th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by: Attorney Katharine J. Westfall In a 5-2 decision issued May 5, 2016, the Virginia Supreme Court held that a parking pass hanging from a rear-view mirror was sufficient cause for a traffic stop in that it constituted a violation of Va. Code § 46.2-1054, which prohibits operating a vehicle with any object suspended […]

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Until death do us part: Changing rights of surviving spouses in Virginia

May 3rd, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Attorney Rebecca S. Aman Virginia law provides that the surviving spouse of a deceased individual is entitled to a minimum amount of the decedent’s estate.  This minimum is known as the “elective share” and prevents a decedent from disinheriting or impoverishing his or her spouse.  If the decedent does not leave his or […]

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Super Lawyer selections for 2016

April 28th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by: Grant tenHoeve Jones, Blechman, Woltz, & Kelly, P.C. is pleased to announce that Wallace B. Wason, Jr. has been named a 2016 Virginia Super Lawyer in the practice area of Personal Injury Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff.   Also named as Rising Stars in 2016 by Super Lawyers are Matthew D. Meadows, for Business Litigation, […]

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Five Members of U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team File EEOC Claim

April 4th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Attorney Elizabeth S. Olcott The U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team (“USWNT”) has been prominent in the news lately due to its status as the reigning Olympic gold medalists and Women’s World Cup champion. The USWNT made news again this week by filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). The charge […]

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NEW FLSA OVERTIME RULES POSSIBLE THIS SPRING

March 25th, 2016 by JBWK

 Submitted by Attorney Jennifer L. Muse On March 14, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) sent the proposed final overtime rule to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for its mandatory review.  OMB review generally takes 30 days, but that period can be extended.   Under the proposed regulations, the minimum weekly salary […]

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What are your thoughts on Virginia’s reckless driving laws?

February 27th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Attorney Herbert V. Kelly, Jr. Speeding in Virginia. Do you believe that Virginia’s threshold for per se reckless driving offenses for speeding in excess of 80 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone is archaic? House Bill 1185 raises the threshold to 85 miles per hour, but only if the […]

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Employers Need to Take Care to Avoid Employee Misclassification

February 18th, 2016 by JBWK

Submitted by Elizabeth S. Olcott The Department of Labor is taking notice of the manner in which employers classify their employees and independent contractors. This classification has a significant effect on a variety of issues including minimum wage and overtime compensation protections, taxes, and workers’ compensation. On July 15, 2015, the DOL issued an Administrator’s […]

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Same-Sex Relationships and the Definition of Cohabitation

December 10th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Berkley Foltz Virginia began issuing same-sex marriage licenses in October 2014. Now, for the first time since that date, the Supreme Court of Virginia will hear a case in which an ex-husband is arguing that he should no longer be required to pay spousal support under their property settlement agreement because his ex-wife […]

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Trick or Treat? S Corporations and Estate Planning

November 2nd, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Rebecca Shwayder Aman Small or closely held businesses can take one of several forms, including limited liability companies (“LLCs”), partnerships and S corporations (corporations which have made a special tax election with the IRS). To certain types of businesses, an S corporation offers the best of both worlds. Like LLCs and partnerships, an […]

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Hoarding Tenants & Unit Owners Must Be Provided Reasonable Accommodations

August 10th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Herbert V. Kelly, Jr. Compulsive hoarders present very serious problems for landlords, property managers, and homeowners associations. Hoarding often results in countless adverse and potentially life threatening circumstances for both the hoarder and their neighbors. One might assume, justifiably, that evicting or otherwise ridding themselves of a hoarding tenant or unit owner would […]

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Service Animals in Housing & Public Common Areas: An Overview of the Requirements under the ADA and FHA

August 10th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Herbert V. Kelly, Jr. Service animals are often essential to a disabled individual’s ability to function in society without constant human assistance. The benefits are well established and heavily enforced federal laws have been enacted to protect these disabled individuals’ rights to utilize service animals in public housing and places of public accommodation. […]

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Local Establishments Face Dilemma as Copyright Enforcement Increases and Jazz Night, Karaoke & Cover Bands Become a Thing of the Past

July 13th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Britney H. Maddux Music rights organizations have ownership rights in most of the music and songs customarily played in local restaurants, bars, and parks. These organizations have been entitled to demand royalty fees from establishments playing the music or songs they own for many years but have just recently started cracking down in […]

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Always Read Carefully – Court Won’t Overturn “Unfair” PSA

May 26th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Berkley D. Foltz A case came down recently where a judge found that although a document was “unfair” it was not unconscionable and thus required the parties to comply with its terms. A man had his ex-wife sign a property settlement agreement after telling her that it was a document allowing him to […]

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Wallace B. Wason, Jr. named Super Lawyer for 2015

May 7th, 2015 by JBWK

JBWK congratulates Wallace B. Wason, Jr. for being named one of Virginia’s Super Lawyers for 2015. Wally was selected in the field of Personal Injury Medical Malpractice: Plaintiff. This year marks his second time being selected as a Super Lawyer. If you have a malpractice or personal injury case that you would like for us […]

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Spying on Your Spouse? Think Twice!

March 19th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Herbert V. Kelly, Jr. Tech-savvy spouses are becoming increasingly aware of spyware programs that can monitor and record smart-phone use to include phone calls, text messages, internet activity and photos. The use of these spyware programs may constitute a violation of Virginia Code § 19.2-62, a criminal statute, which makes it unlawful to […]

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Light Duty Only for On the Job Injuries may be a Thing of the Past

March 5th, 2015 by JBWK

Submitted by Elizabeth S. Olcott Employers should keep an eye out for a ruling from the United States Supreme Court concerning pregnancy in the workplace and the potential for discrimination. In December, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Young v. UPS, in which the Plaintiff argued that she was the victim of gender and […]

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The Gift that Isn’t a Gift: Loudoun County Circuit Court rules that ex-fiancée must return $46,646.00 engagement ring

February 6th, 2015 by JBWK

Zsa Zsa Gabor once said, “I never hated a man enough to give him his diamonds back.” Apparently, the defendant in a recent Loudoun County Circuit Court case agrees. With a price tag of $46,646.00, who can blame her? In the case of Peter v. Langley, the Court followed the majority of U.S. jurisdictions and […]

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Worker’s Compensation: Employee Not Entitled to Both TTD and Retirement Benefits

January 21st, 2015 by JBWK

In McKellar v. Northrop Grumman Shipbuilding, Inc., 63 Va. App. 448, 758 S.E.2d 104 (2014), the Court of Appeals of Virginia recently held that a claimant who was injured on the job only two weeks before he was scheduled to retire was not eligible for temporary total disability (“TTD”). The claimant was injured but able […]

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IRS Issues Guidance Expanding Cafeteria Plan Election Change Rules

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

The IRS recently issued guidance allowing cafeteria plans to allow election changes mid-year in two circumstances arising as a result of the Affordable Care Act. First, the guidance permits a prospective election change if an employee’s hours drop below 30 hours per week. Second, the guidance permits an employee to revoke a prior election to […]

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EEOC Assault of Employer Wellness Plans

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

The EEOC has brought its third lawsuit in recent months challenging an employer sponsored wellness program under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, asking a federal court in Minnesota to enjoin the implementation of any penalty or cost imposed on employees who decline to participate in the employer’s wellness program. In […]

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Courts Issue Troubling Rulings Involving FMLA Notices

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

Two recent cases involving the method for delivering FMLA notices to employees have raised significant questions for employers. In August of this year, a federal Court of Appeals found that an FMLA notice sent to an employee through the U.S. Mail provided only a weak presumption that the employee had actually received the notice, which […]

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Key Retirement Plan Limits for 2015 Announced

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

On October 23, 2014, the IRS announced cost-of-living adjustments to the monetary limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for tax year 2015. The table below lists the key 2015 limits and corresponding 2014 limits: 2015 2014 401(k)/403(b) elective deferral maximum $ 18,000 $17,500 §415 defined benefit dollar maximum $210,000 $210,000 §415 defined contribution […]

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Marriage Questioned in Guardianship Case

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

In Virginia, marriages that are deemed either void or voidable are defective marriages which are legal nullities. Although both void and voidable marriages are improper marriages under the law, there are distinct differences in how they are remedied. A marriage which is void is one which can never be ratified and may be dissolved by […]

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HB 791 and Homeowner’s Associations

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

A bill has recently been passed which affects Homeowner’s Associations. The bill, titled HB 791, makes several changes to Virginia Code sections 16.1-106 and 55-513. A majority of these changes benefit Associations, but owners benefit as well. The changes went into effect July 1, 2014. The most notable changes that Associations should be aware of […]

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What is the authority of campus police beyond the campus? It depends on the circumstances.

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

Virginia Code § 23-234 (available here: https://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bin/legp504.exe?000+cod+23-234) gives campus police powers on streets “immediately adjacent” to school properties. Some cities and counties have entered into mutual aid agreements with colleges and universities. State law also gives authority to campus police when in close pursuit of an individual but courts have limited this authority to cases […]

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School Teacher Caught Drinking on Camera

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

A Federal District Court in Big Stone Gap, Virginia considered whether school officials who captured a middle-school special education teacher drinking alcoholic beverages on a camera hidden in a stuffed animal in his school office were excessively intrusive and unreasonable. The Court observed that the operational realities of a government office may limit or even […]

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DUI in the Driveway: Supreme Court of Virginia affirms DUI conviction involving parked vehicle on private property

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

Based on the acronyms “DUI” and “DWI,” it’s easy to understand why most people think that you must be “driving” to be convicted of Driving While Intoxicated in Virginia (a violation of Virginia Code § 18.2-266). In fact, it is a violation of law to “drive or operate” a motor vehicle while intoxicated. “Operating a […]

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IRS Issues Guidance Expanding Cafeteria Plan Election Change Rules

December 23rd, 2014 by JBWK

The IRS recently issued guidance allowing cafeteria plans to allow election changes mid-year in two circumstances arising as a result of the Affordable Care Act. First, the guidance permits a prospective election change if an employee’s hours drop below 30 hours per week. Second, the guidance permits an employee to revoke a prior election to […]

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Don’t Ask Too Much of Your Non-Compete

September 22nd, 2014 by JBWK

http://www.forbes.com/sites/richardtuschman/2013/02/18/employee-non-compete-agreements-one-size-doesnt-fit-all/

EEOC Settles First GINA Lawsuit

May 25th, 2013 by JBWK

The EEOC has reached a settlement in its first-ever GINA lawsuit. Passed in 2008, GINA, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prohibits employers from basing employment decisions on genetic factors, including an applicant’s family medical history. The case, which settled for $50,000, involved an employer-mandated physical for a job applicant. The doctor asked questions about the […]

New Virginia Employee Privacy Law

May 24th, 2013 by JBWK

Starting July 1, 2013, employers will not be required to hand out employees’ private information, including their phone numbers, email addresses, shift times, or work schedules, to third parties unless required by law. The Keeping Employees’ Emails and Phones Secure Act, or KEEP Act, mirrors a federal bill that stalled in Congress last year. Although […]

Another Blow to NLRB Recess Appointments

May 23rd, 2013 by JBWK

Although it didn’t make quite as much of a splash as the D.C. Circuit’s ruling, another federal appeals court has invalidated the President’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. The federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting in Philadelphia, adopted the same logic as the D.C. Circuit in invalidating the NLRB recess appointments. It ruled […]

OSHA Lets Unions In During Inspections of Non-Unionized Workplaces

May 20th, 2013 by JBWK

In a dramatic shift from its prior interpretations, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has released a new interpretation of its regulations allowing outside union representatives to accompany employees during OSHA inspections. Previously, employees in unionized and non-unionized workplaces could designate a representative to accompany the inspector during “walkaround” inspections. The representative typically had […]

NLRB Posting Rule Struck Down

May 16th, 2013 by JBWK

In what could be its death blow, the federal D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s rule requiring every employer to display posters explaining employees’ union and organizing rights. After two federal trial courts invalidated the NLRB rule, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the Board exceeded its authority in mandating […]

$240 Million Win for Harassment Victims

May 8th, 2013 by JBWK

An EEOC lawsuit has resulted in a staggering $240 million award to 32 employees of a turkey processing facility in Iowa. (Alas, the company is now defunct, so the likelihood of recovery is slim.) The mentally disabled employees, who were paid 41 cents an hour and housed in a rodent-infested bunkhouse, were reportedly “abused, harshly […]

NLRB Mass Chaos, Part III

April 12th, 2013 by JBWK

As if the D.C. Circuit’s decision rendering the National Labor Relations Board ineffective and the pending cases in several other circuits haven’t caused enough confusion, more has been added to the mix. President Obama has nominated three nominees to the NLRB, but the Senate must confirm them. One is a current NLRB member and the two […]

Federal Court Lets “Gender Stereotype” Case Move Forward

April 12th, 2013 by JBWK

A federal court in Richmond ruled last week that an apparently effeminate, but heterosexual, male who was harassed based on “gender stereotypes” could take his case to trial. In refusing to grant the employer summary judgment, the trial court judge held that the complaint alleged harassment based on “failing to comply with accepted gender norms,” […]

Employers Make Changes to Avoid Health Insurance Coverage

April 12th, 2013 by JBWK

Reporting on a widely popular trend, the Wall Street Journal ran a piece last week on small businesses’ strategies to address the health-insurance mandate kicking in next year. The new law requires employers with 50 or more full-time employees to begin offering group health insurance to all full-time employees (those averaging over 30 hours a week). […]

4th Circuit Upholds Arbitration Agreement for FLSA Claim

April 5th, 2013 by JBWK

In a promising opinion for employers, the Fourth Circuit this week upheld an arbitration agreement restricting an independent contractor’s FLSA lawsuit arguing he was an employee. Shuttle Service, an airport taxi company, entered a “franchise agreement” with a driver. The driver was deemed an independent contractor under the agreement. In addition, the agreement contained a […]

Questions Remain in NLRB Recess Appointment Case

April 4th, 2013 by JBWK

Since the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals January 25 ruling invalidating President Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board, over 70 cases pending in federal appeals courts have cited it in attempts to undo adverse Board decisions. The D.C. Circuit Court opinion, which will affect not only the NLRB but every federal agency, […]

“European” Is Protected Class for National-Origin Discrimination

April 3rd, 2013 by JBWK

A federal case in Alexandria last month raised an interesting issue that’s caused conflict within federal trial courts: What does a reverse-discrimination plaintiff need to prove? The federal trial court, which ended up granting summary judgment to the employer, ruled that “Europeans” occupy a protected class under Title VII’s prohibition on national-origin discrimination. The employer […]

March Madness Office Pool = Jail?

March 22nd, 2013 by JBWK

Most workers don’t think twice about completing their brackets and throwing some money in the pot during the annual March Madness office pool. And they probably shouldn’t. But many employers probably don’t know they could wind up in jail–yes, jail–if they get busted. Gambling is illegal in almost every state, and a March Madness pool […]

The “Everything About Me” Folder

March 21st, 2013 by JBWK

In a startling decision a few weeks ago, a Colorado federal judge sanctioned the EEOC for failing to turn over a virtual “Everything About Me” folder for every plaintiff participating in a sexual harassment class-action case. The EEOC, which filed suit on behalf of a class of female employees allegedly harassed by a manager, initially resisted […]

Getting on Board with BYOD

March 20th, 2013 by JBWK

Soaring personal smartphone and tablet use has created a quandary for some human resources departments: when, and under what circumstances, should the company embrace a bring your own device–or BYOD–approach to connectivity. The benefits are obvious. An employee using his or her personal device saves the company money (by not having to provide a phone, […]

Think Twice About Your Severance Agreement

March 1st, 2013 by JBWK

In a probably-common but always-preventable situation, a former Hallmark executive was forced to return her entire $735,000 severance payment after she disclosed Hallmark’s confidential information under a consulting agreement several years after her non-compete expired. When Hallmark eliminated Janet Murley’s job, VP of Marketing, it offered her a fairly generous severance package: $735,000; health insurance; […]

One Size Does Not Fit All

March 1st, 2013 by JBWK

Employment contracts and non-compete agreements are now standard fare in many professions. They certainly serve a good business purpose, but a misguided or poorly drafted agreement can cause headaches down the line. In a recent Forbes column, employment lawyer Richard Tuschman raised a great question: Should you try to draft a non-compete agreement enforceable in […]

Discrimination is Legal

February 28th, 2013 by JBWK

Mostly. People tend to get fired up about discrimination at work. But they all too often get fired up about the wrong kinds of discrimination. It’s perfectly legal for supervisors, human resources managers, and every other level of employee to discriminate based on legal factors. If your boss loves the Redskins, he can axe all of the […]

IRS Mileage Rate Rises in 2013

January 11th, 2013 by JBWK

The IRS has slightly raised its reimbursement rate for mileage–including employees’ mileage in many instances. The new rate is 56.5 cents per mile.