July 29, 2021

Volume XI, Number 210

Advertisement

July 28, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

July 27, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

July 26, 2021

Subscribe to Latest Legal News and Analysis

Virginia Employers Soon Must Adopt, Provide Accommodation Policies to Employees With Disabilities

Starting on July 1, 2021, most Virginia employers must include information in their employee handbooks about reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities and provide that information directly to any employee within 10 days after receiving notice that the employee has a disability.

This new requirement is modeled on last year’s Virginia pregnancy accommodation law, which requires that employers include information in their handbooks about pregnancy accommodations, as well as provide that information to employees within 10 days of receiving notice that an employee is pregnant. These are the only two laws in Virginia requiring specific handbook policies, and the only two requiring notices to employees triggered by specific events that occur during employment. As a result, Virginia employers must now act promptly when an employee informs them that the employee is pregnant or has a disability.

Virginia’s 2020 Pregnancy Accommodation Law

Under a law that took effect on July 1, 2020, Virginia employers with at least five employees must make reasonable accommodations to known limitations related to pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, in the absence of undue hardship. The law also mandates that employers include information in their handbooks about an employee’s right to reasonable accommodation due to pregnancy, post such information in a conspicuous location, and provide that information directly to new employees and to any employee within 10 days of that employee providing notice to the employer that she is pregnant.

This was the first law in Virginia requiring specific information in employee handbooks and the first requiring employers to respond to an employee disclosure (in this case, pregnancy) with specific notice information. The Virginia Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) has issued a poster that can be used as a basis for the employer’s policy and notice to employees.

2021 Reasonable Accommodation Law

In 2021, the Virginia legislature passed similar protections for employees with disabilities. Starting on July 1, 2021, employers with more than five employees must ensure that their handbooks include information about an employee’s right to reasonable accommodation for disabilities and must post that information in a conspicuous location.

Employers also must provide information about the law to new employees, as well as to any employee who discloses they have a disability within 10 days of that disclosure. As of the date of this article, no poster has been issued by the Commonwealth to satisfy the posting or notice requirements.

Compliance Steps for Employers

Employers covered by these laws whose handbooks do not contain information about (1) pregnancy accommodations and (2) accommodations for employees with disabilities should immediately adopt such policies and start distributing them to new hires.

In addition, employers should post the DLLR’s pregnancy accommodation poster, as well as its own policy on reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.

An employee’s disclosure of a pregnancy or disability triggers an additional notice requirement. Within 10 days of such disclosure, the employer must provide the employee with a copy of that policy or notice.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 174
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

About this Author

Alyson J. Guyan, Jackson Lewis, Workplace safety health lawyer, Labor discrimination attorney
Associate

Alyson J. Guyan is an Associate in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents corporations and other entities in a wide variety of employment, safety and health, discrimination, harassment, and wage and hour matters.

Ms. Guyan advises and represents employers in a broad range of employment law matters arising under federal and state law, including claims based on the Fair Labor Standards Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and the Americans with Disabilities...

(703) 483-8300
Teresa Burke Wright, Jackson Lewis, contracts litigation lawyer, administrative proceedings attorney
Principal

Teresa Wright is a Principal in the Washington, D.C. Region office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents numerous employers in both litigation and administrative proceedings and advises clients with respect to state and federal employment laws.

Ms. Wright has handled jury trials and other litigation involving discrimination, harassment, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act and wrongful termination. She also counsels management regarding employment issues,...

703-483-8310
Of Counsel

Crystal L. Tyler is Of Counsel in the Richmond, Virginia, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She practices in the areas of employment and higher education, specifically, Title IX.

In her employment practice, Ms. Tyler represents employers in litigation, mediation, and arbitration involving a full range of employment-related claims involving arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and various other federal and state laws. Ms. Tyler also provides counsel and...

804-212-2880
Advertisement
Advertisement