An employer may not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee for filing a complaint, instituting a proceeding or testifying in a proceeding for nonpayment of wages. €Before this law, employees could only file a claim with the Virginia Department of Labor and law banning the box for simple marijuana possession, sweeping employment The subcontractor’s employees may recover their unpaid wages, an equal amount of liquidated damages, attorney’s fees and, if applicable, treble damages, jointly and severally against the general contractor and subcontractor. MEDIA MENTIONS. The amount of the civil penalty is determined based on the employer’s size and the gravity of the violation. Wage theft happens in a variety of ways. After hearing compelling arguments made by FH+H attorneys, the court allowed it to move forward. If you believe your employer is unfairly docking your pay, you should consult with one of our experienced wage theft attorneys at the Spiggle Law Firm. Along with a number of other employer friendly laws passed this summer (Values Act and Wage Theft Law), Virginia has joined Maryland in prohibiting non-compete agreements with certain “low” wage workers.What is a non-compete agreement? The Wage Theft Law expands the remedies available to the employee. Employees who are suspended or resigns due to a labor dispute (strike) Virginia has no law regarding when an employer must pay an employee who has resigned due to a labor dispute. In addition to recovery of all wages owed plus 8 percent pre-judgment interest, the Wage Theft Law permits recovery of liquidated damages in an amount equal to the wages owed and reasonable attorney fees and costs. WHAT WE DO If the amount of wages owed is less than $10,000, employers can be found guilty of a misdemeanor. Among the most significant changes are these: In addition, the Virginia labor agencies have been given expanded powers. Earlier this year, the State of Virginia amended its labor code to give real teeth to its wage theft law. Virginia labor laws have historically been friendly to employers. However, the Wage Theft Law now excuses the employer from criminal liability if the employer’s failure to pay wages was due to a bona fide dispute between the employer and employee. The new wage theft law also has “teeth” in that it grants all Virginia employees the right to file suit against their employer, individually or collectively, to recover unpaid wages. Last updated: July 11th, 2020. The new Wage Theft Law comes equipped with expensive penalties. 838) amending Virginia’s wage payment statute (Va. Code § 40.1-29). This new law, which becomes effective on July 1, 2020, dramatically alters Virginia’s wage and hour landscape in the following ways: New Private Right of Action: Currently, Virginia employees cannot sue their employers directly for … Previously, the labor agencies were limited to investigating individual complaints that were filed by workers. (Photo: 8News) New Anti-Retaliation Provisions: HB 337 and SB 48 protect employees who report wage theft or file suit against their employer for unpaid wages from retaliation. Absent this procedural option in state court, Circuit Courts will likely see an influx of wage and hour claims and an increase in the number of wage and hour trials. Furthermore, the investigation can be expanded both to other employees in the workplace and to other potential labor violations concerning the worker who filed the initiating complaint. We are a law firm committed to representing and advocating for employees’ rights in the workplace. Employers are now liable for unpaid overtime wages plus liquidated damages and interest. By Dallas Hammer and Katherine Krems. protecting employee rights. A misdemeanor conviction carries a potential jail term of up to 12 months; a felony conviction can result in a jail term of more than a year. Finally, HB 336 and SB 49 greatly expand the Department of Labor and Industry’s right to investigate employee wage complaints to include suspected wage violations related to other employees of the same employer. If your employer has not paid you properly or on time, you may be entitled to recover not only your unpaid wages, but also penalties intended to punish your employer for wage theft. The major components of the new Virginia wage theft legislation are as follows: Under House Bill 123, if a court determines an employer deliberately failed to pay an employee’s appropriate wages, the employee could be entitled to attorneys’ fees in addition to triple the amount of wages … If an employer is found to have misclassified a worker or a group of workers as independent contractors, the employer could be responsible for paying (1) wages owed, (2) liquidated damages equal to the wages owed, and (3) the plaintiff’s … Virginia Stat. Significant expansion of Virginia’s wage payment law Governor Northam signed into law two somewhat conflicting bills (H.B. Under the amended wage theft law in Virginia, signed in April 2020, Virginia employers now have reason to fear substantial legal and financial consequences for stealing wages. Ralph Northam signed a series of new employee protection laws related to employee unpaid wage complaints. Before this law, employees could only file a claim with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry. We may not respond to unsolicited emails and do not consider them or attached information confidential. The employee had to file an administrative claim with the Virginia Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) instead. Virginia Wage Theft Legislation. The department may broaden its investigation to include additional employees (whether or not those employees have actually made a complaint of nonpayment of wages), and violations not previously asserted by the employee who filed a complaint. If you are not a McGuireWoods client, do not send us any confidential information. If the court finds that the employer “knowingly” failed to pay wages to the employee, the Wage Theft Law permits recovery of treble damages and the imposition of a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000 per violation payable to the Virginia State Treasurer. Finally, the new law enhances potential criminal penalties for wage theft where the theft was done “willfully and with the intent to defraud.” This is a higher standard than “knowingly.” Employers who intentionally steal wages can be found guilty of a misdemeanor (for amounts less than $10,000) and for a felony (for amounts higher than $10,000). COMMON VIOLATIONS Lawsuits allege wage theft by subcontractors on some of Virginia’s major construction projects, including the new Virginia General Assembly building in Capitol Square. The newly enacted laws are expected to create a flood of new single-plaintiff and collective-action unpaid wage litigation in Virginia state courts. The new wage theft law also has “teeth” in that it grants all Virginia employees the right to file suit against their employer, individually or collectively, to recover unpaid wages. See our articles for details: Virginia Minimum Wage Increase Will Take Effect on May 1, 2021; Virginia to Gradually Raise Minimum Wage RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam has signed nearly two dozen new laws to support working Virginians, including legislation to combat worker misclassification and wage theft, ban workplace discrimination, and prohibit non-compete covenants for low-wage workers.. Under the new law, a “covenant not to compete” or non-compete agreement is an … To stay protected, the collection and archiving of data that shows who was on each project (and when) will help support general contractors and limit costly … protections added to the state’s anti-discrimination law, a law Limited ability to confront wage theft law confront wage theft on this website do not consider them attached! Rights Reserved by Herrmann law to Support Virginia workers hours worked over 40 virginia wage theft law court allowed it to move.... 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