Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam signed nearly two dozen workforce-related laws, including legislation to combat worker misclassification and wage theft, ban workplace discrimination, and prohibit non-compete covenants for low-wage workers.

Additionally, Northam is proposing that the effective date of a statewide pay-basement increase be pushed back to May 1, 2021; it is currently scheduled to go into effect Jan. 1. Lawmakers will need to address the proposal when they reconvene, which is currently expected April 22.

The measures signed into law pertaining to independent classification:

  • House Bill 1407 and Senate Bill 744, which authorize the Department of Taxation to oversee investigations into suspected cases of worker misclassification and levy penalties as appropriate.
  • House Bill 984 and Senate Bill 894, which create a private cause of action for a misclassified worker to bring civil action for damages against his or her employer.
  • House Bill 1199 and Senate Bill 662, which protect employees or independent contractors who report misclassification from employer retaliation. Employers that are found to have engaged in retaliatory action will be subject to a civil penalty up to the value of the employee’s lost wages.
  • House Bill 1646, which requires contractors to properly classify all workers as employees or independent contractors and enables the Board of Contractors to sanction contractors who are found to have intentionally misclassified workers.

Other legislation signed into law by Northam opens up avenues for employees to recover unpaid wages and prohibits non-compete contracts for low-wage workers.

For a complete list of legislation signed by Northam, click here.