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  • Posts by Elizabeth C. Burneson
    Posts by Elizabeth C. Burneson

    Liz combines enthusiasm and diligence to help her clients resolve complex disputes. Whether the dispute is a construction claim, a breach of contract, or a business tort, Liz brings focus and determination to every case. Liz has ...

The General Assembly significantly changed the law in 2020 when it imposed potential liability on general contractors for the improper employment practices of their subcontractors. The General Assembly recently modified this law again to provide an express defense to joint liability.

Virginia’s progression toward becoming one of the most employee-friendly states in the country continues with Governor Northam’s recent signing of the Virginia Overtime Wage Act (“VOWA”). The law goes into effect July 1, 2021, so Virginia employers need to take note quickly. 

As of Friday, January 15, 2021, OSHA penalties will increase in accordance with the Federal Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (the “Inflation Act”).  

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.

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.

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