Employment Law FAQ

Do you have questions about your employer? There are many laws and regulations that help protect employees, but they can be hard to understand. Here are some of the top employment law FAQ.

What laws do employers have to follow when hiring new employees?


They must follow anti-discrimination laws. Their hiring decisions cannot be based on race, gender, national origin, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or military status.

Can employers monitor their employees’ internet usage or read their emails?


If an employee is using a company computer, and the company’s email and internet, yes, these emails can be read. They are technically company property. However, if the email is clearly private, the answer becomes “maybe not”. The law is not clear, and it is better to err with caution.

Can employers listen in on employees’ phone calls while at work? Or access their voice mail messages in the company system?


Yes, they can.

What laws regulate the wages and hours in my workplace?


The Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Virginia Wage Payment and Overtime Pay Acts require payment of wages on time, and if you are non-exempt and overtime eligible, all overtime pay.

How can I tell if I am an independent contractor?


The primary test is whether you set the primary terms of your work – place, time, control. You can learn more about the independent contractor test here.

Is it ever acceptable for an employer to consider someone’s disability during the hiring process?


Employment Law FAQ

An employer can ask whether an applicant can perform the job as described with or without reasonable accommodations. If the answer is “yes,” then the employer needs to accept that answer. There may be some jobs where the employer can require a test, such as a physical test for a job handling especially heavy or dangerous equipment. But employers should be very careful about asking about disabilities and this usually violates the law.   

How do workers gain union representation?


Employees seeking to gain union representation need to get 30% of the applicable workforce to sign a petition and send it to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) for review. If enough employees sign the petition showing interest, it will trigger an election to determine if the union will represent all employees.


What’s the difference between “at will” employment and employment based on a contract?


“At will” means the employer can terminate or change terms at any time, for any reason. Contracts must be followed as written.


Does sexual harassment only occur between supervisors and employees?


No. It can also be co-workers or others in the workplace such as vendors, customers, and clients. An employer has the duty to protect all employees from both internal sexual harassment as well as external (vendors, customers).

I was terminated for exposing illegal activity by my employer. Do I have a claim?


Yes. You have a claim under the Virginia Whistleblowers Protection Act.

Employment Attorney in Virginia


If you have other questions or would like to speak to an experienced employment law attorney please contact Cook, Craig, and Francuzenko today. 

Website | + posts
Translate »