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Against the backdrop of a year that saw the COVID-19 pandemic alter the American workplace in an unprecedented way, the employment law landscape in Virginia also underwent a recent sea change. Historically considered an employer-friendly state, the General Assembly shifted away from tradition by enacting several significant pieces of employee-friendly legislation, which will surely have a long-lasting impact on Virginia employees, businesses, and Virginia’s economy at large. This Article highlights these critical developments in Virginia employment law. It does not provide an in-depth analysis of every development but highlights the most significant changes affecting employers and employees in the Commonwealth. Part I of this Article provides a brief overview of the added employee protections from the federal legislation passed pursuant to the COVID-19 pandemic and discusses Virginia’s efforts in creating the nation’s first COVID-19 workplace safety mandate. Part II briefly highlights legislation enacted in 2019, which set the stage for the General Assembly’s activism in 2020, and then discusses in detail Virginia’s new employment laws. Part III then addresses two recent landmark employment law decisions from the Supreme Court of the United States of which employees and employers alike should be aware.
D. Paul Holdsworth*
* Associate, Jackson Lewis P.C., Richmond, Virginia. J.D., 2015, University of Richmond School of Law; B.A., 2012, Brigham Young University