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We are beginning to see courts issue rulings on when the COVID-19 pandemic excuses a party from performance. Two trends have emerged in the federal decisions that we summarize in this post. Ultimately, it appears that parties cannot use COVID-19 to excuse obligations that were in their control, but they can expect a thorough and critical analysis of their position.

In an article published by Construction Executive on July 21, Hirschler construction lawyers Kelly Bundy and Liz Burneson examine a contractor’s potential liability for employee wages if the contractor is deemed a joint employer with its subcontractors and staffing agencies.

Hirschler construction lawyer Kelly Bundy’s article on impossibility, impracticability and frustration of purpose in the age of COVID-19 has been published as part of the ABA Construction Law Forum’s “Under Construction” series.

A recent federal case reinforces the need for strict compliance with Miller Act notice requirements to secure recovery on a payment bond.

Communications between a general contractor and sub-sub prove critical in enabling a sub-sub to recover directly from the general contractor in this new Virginia Supreme Court case.

The General Assembly, in its 2020 session, passed new legislation (codified at new Virginia Code §11.4-6 and in amended and reenacted Virginia Code § 40.1-29) that makes Virginia general contractors jointly and severally liable for its subcontractors’ employee wages if the general contractor knew or should have known that the subcontractor was not paying its employees. The new law goes into effect on July 1, 2020.

In new guidance effective May 26, OSHA reverses course on reporting requirements and cases of COVID-19. 

Under new OSHA guidance most employers no longer need to make work-relatedness determinations for employee cases of COVID-19 in the absence of objective evidence of work-relatedness and can focus on increased sanitization and other practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

On March 30, 2020, Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order Number 55, titled “Temporary Stay at Home Order Due to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).”

States across the county have enacted Stay at Home Orders, each with varying degrees of restriction. The Virginia Stay at Home order is one of the least-restrictive Stay at Home Orders in the region. 

As cases of COVID-19 multiply across the country, with new restrictions being handed down from all levels of government on a daily and hourly basis, companies large and small face a variety of challenges in keeping their employees safe while at the same time maintaining business operations. While seeking good employment law counsel is critical as questions arise, below are ten tips for addressing personnel issues in your workplace. 

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