State Fined Reston Association for Child Labor Law Violations Last Year

The state fined Reston Association $12,000 for violating child labor laws late last year.

The state’s Department of Labor and Industry issued fines in October 2018 after an investigation found “numerous violations” regarding minors employed as aquatics attendants or lifeguards, according to an August 2018 inspection report obtained by Reston Now.

Child labor law violations included minors working more than eight hours a day and more than 40 hours a week. The investigation also found that some minors were working without any indicated breaks, employment certificates or lifeguard certificates.

The most common violation cited in the investigation was allowing minors to work more than eight hours a day. Virginia’s child labor laws allow minors between ages 14 and 15 to work a maximum of eight hours per day on a non-school day. Work hours depend on school schedules and the type of occupation.

Mike Leone, RA’s spokesperson, declined to release any information about the citation, including whether or not it was disputed by RA or how RA is working to ensure issues flagged by the investigation do not occur again.

“As previously communicated, RA does not comment publicly on personnel-related matters,” Leone wrote in an email. Additionally, RA’s policy states that only RA’s board president, CEO and spokesperson are authorized to speak to media.

Sources told Reston Now that the investigation was discussed in closed session during a Board of Directors meeting at a date that was not identified.

In recent years, RA has struggled to staff pools due to a shortage of lifeguards — an issue that is part of an industry-wide shortage of lifeguards.

Due to the lack of qualified candidates, some aquatics facilities were changing hours or closing facilities as they step up efforts to hire for seasonal positions.

Staff shortages when schools were in session prompted the closures of several pools operated by RA. Leone told Reston Now the shortages were resolved on June 23 when 14 of the 15 pools operated by RA were open. New applicants were on-boarded and completed training courses, and more employees were available due to the end of the school year, Leone said.

A source familiar with the state’s labor law investigation and on-boarding of lifeguards, however, said that part of the reason for delays in opening the pools was because lifeguards did not have required safety certifications to begin working — an issue that was spotted by administrative staff “far too late” once pools were already scheduled to open. Certifications were expired or still in the process of being received, the source said.

Others chose not to return due to alleged mismanagement of aquatics facilities.

“Some people felt they were overworked and thrown into the job without on-boarding,” a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of reprisal, said.

Leone said that some staff members were unable to begin working or register for courses due to personal schedules and commitments until the end of the school year. Once courses were completed, the shortage was alleviated.

“In light of our short window of operation (four months [from] May-Sept.) and onboarding process, we do conduct some interviews prior to applicants’ completion of lifeguard training classes for efficiency to avoid delays, an offer is contingent upon completion of the certification course and skill assessment,” Leone wrote.

As the number of lifeguard applicants has declined over the last five years, RA moved to change staffing structures by hiring desk attendants and pool operators to serve as stand-alone positions from lifeguards.

In the future, RA plans to address staff shortages at pools by exploring increases in hourly rates for lifeguards, changes to the pool schedules during peak hours and other recruitment and retention efforts.

Photo by vantagehill/Flickr

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DMV 2 Go to Reinstate Suspended Driver’s Licenses

Gov. Ralph Northam will be in Herndon tomorrow (Tuesday) to promote his successful move to reinstate driver’s licenses that were suspended for failure to pay court fines.

Northam’s initiative, which began on July 1, allow any Virginian whose driver’s license was suspended for failure to pay court fines and costs to have their driving privileges restored. Fees for reinstatement will also be waived.

DMV 2 GO, the state Department of Motor Vehicles’ mobile office, will set up shop at the Herndon Fortnightly Library (768 Center Street) to raise awareness about the policy from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

State elected officials will be also be on-site to deliver remarks.

The Virginia General Assembly passed Northam’s proposed budget amendment in April, a move that his office said would “help countless others by preventing future debt-related suspensions for the remaining duration of the state budget.

“All Virginians must have a fair opportunity to fulfill their obligations without losing their jobs, their ability to take care for their families, and their dignity,” Northam wrote in a statement.

The mobile offices will come to Herndon every third Thursday of the month.

File photo

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Now Open: Fast Food Japanese Hibachi Restaurant in Dulles Park

It’s official: a new fast food Japanese restaurant is  now open in Dulles Park in Herndon.

Quickway Japanese Hibachi opened at 1040 Elden Street. The restaurant uses the teppanyaki grilling style in a quick-service restaurant setting. Its menu includes bento boxes, hibachi, and combos with vegetables, rice or noodles.

Here’s more about the restaurant from its website:

Here at Quickway Japanese Hibachi, you’ll find fresh, quality food, served fast, with style. It’s how we have grown from one prototype store to 7 locations, and counting, within 20 months, in the DC metro area.

We bring the Teppanyaki (teppan, Japanese for griddle: yaki, grill, broiled) cooking technique to a quick service restaurant setting. The proteins are prepared freshon the open grill in your full view, a true cooked to order signature dish.

We offer choices of salads, sides, and sushi, all prepared from All Day Fresh ingredients and homemade sauces. Plus, we really care if you have a cool place to eat. We build our space to be clean, convenient and modern. Of course, our food is healthy, with reduced salt, no trans fat, and no MSG.

The chain also plans to open new location in Silver Spring, Md. and Spotsylvania, Va.

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Reno of the Month: The Art of a Hassle-Free Home Remodel

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

We’ve all been there. We pin design and remodeling ideas like crazy on Pinterest, sit glued to our favorite HGTV show and watch with envy as another house is transformed into a dream home.

Or, we browse Houzz projects and wonder how such a dark, closed-in Kitchen became a light and airy space that looks twice the size, but… we are completely stuck when it comes to our own home!

There are a number of reasons why this happens:

  • Maybe you just don’t know where to start, and the different ways to remodel is making your head spin
  • The horror stories of renovation nightmares made you wary of taking on a remodeling project of your own
  • You just don’t want to deal with the disruption and stress and put up with a space even though it bothers you every time you walk into it

It doesn’t have to be like this! While remodeling can be tricky, it doesn’t need to be stressful. It is possible to have a more zen-like experience and keep your stress in check. While there are many ways to feel more in control, here’s a FREE download of the top ten: Ten Secrets to a Stress-Free Home Remodel.

This month’s featured remodel is a single family home in Reston. Our clients were ready to update the home to better reflect the contemporary architecture as well as open up the floor plan of the Main Level. As a busy and musical family of five (with their eldest child soon to be college-bound), they have A LOT going on!

It would have been easy to put it off indefinitely or wait until all the kids were in college before getting started, but the entire family were “all in” and ready to partner with us to keep stress to a minimum during their remodel. Our main goal was to create more open, light filled spaces to allow the family to gather together and enjoy their home for many years to come.

If you’ve been thinking about remodeling for a while, but just keep putting it off because it all seems too much of a hassle, now is a good time to take the first step on your stress-free remodeling journey!

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Legal Insider: U.S. Women’s Soccer Team Members File Suit for Unequal Pay

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

By John V. Berry, Esq.

In April of 2016, we earlier wrote on the efforts of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and their efforts to receive equal pay as compared to the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team.

Much has happened in the past three years to warrant an update. For one, the women’s team has won another World Cup, recently with a 2-0 victory over the Netherlands. For another, national sponsors of soccer (e.g., Procter and Gamble) have begun to join the fight for equal pay on the side of the women’s team. Lastly, the equal pay movement has become stronger over the past three years. Attached is a copy of the original equal pay complaint.

Equal Pay Cases Take a Long Time

It is an unfortunate fact that the EEOC has taken so long with this case. As mentioned earlier, the case started in early 2016 and originally involved the five team captains of the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team, such as Hope Solo and Carli Lloyd, who filed a wage discrimination complaint with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of all members of the women’s team against the U.S. Soccer Federation.

Since the 3-year delay at the EEOC, all 28 women’s team players have withdrawn their EEOC case and filed suit in the federal district court in Los Angeles, alleging that the U.S. Soccer Federation has engaged in several years of institutional gender discrimination. A copy of that complaint is linked.

Equal Pay Complaint

In the latest filing by plaintiffs Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and other women’s team members, they allege the serious pay discrepancies that continue to exist between the men’s and women’s teams.

Specifically, members of the women’s team can potentially earn a maximum of $99,000 a year, while members of the men’s team earn an average of $263,320 per year. Other disparities include the U.S. Soccer Federation only providing charter air flights to the men’s team in 2017, but requiring the women’s team to take commercial air flights.

The reason why this case is so newsworthy is the fact that the women’s team has been out performing the men’s team in rankings and World Cup wins for a long time. The women’s team has been ranked number one in the world for 10 of the past 11 years. Also, in more recent years, the women’s team has been outperforming the men’s team in revenue and profits as well, and in viewership. For instance, the 2019 Women’s Cup Final viewership was 22% higher than the 2018 Men’s Cup Final.

While the Soccer Federation has claimed market considerations as the reason for paying the men’s team more, the women’s team, according to the complaint, has started to outperform the men’s soccer team in revenue and profit in the most recent accounts. Additionally, according to the complaint, the women’s team had even proposed a revenue-sharing agreement where women’s player compensation would be less if their revenue decreased. It seems as if the U.S. Soccer Federation needs a reality check.

Conclusion

It is time that the U.S. Soccer Federation recognize and pay the women’s team at least the same as their male counterparts on the two national teams and provide them the same benefits. We represent employees in employment matters.

If you need assistance with a federal retirement or an employment issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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County Offers Free ‘Chair Yoga’ Workshop in Reston

Updated on Tuesday, July 16 — This event was cancelled due to staffing issues.

If you spend most of your day sitting, there are still ways to stay somewhat active.

The county’s Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board is organizing a free, four-part workshop on chair yoga. The second workshop is on Wednesday, July 17 from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Northwest Center (1850 Cameron Glen Drive).

The workshop is facilitated by the CSB’s health care integration Manager Shana Grady. She is also one a health coath at BeWell, a coaching program that offers wellness services and health coaching.

Participants will focus on the “impact that nutrition, sleep and activity level have on behavior in a friendly, educational, hands-on setting,” according to the event’s website.

The CSB provides services for people of all ages with mental illness, substance abuse disorders or developmental disabilities.

Registration is open online.

Photo via Brooke Cagle/Unsplash

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Police Cruiser Hits Pedestrian in Reston

A police cruiser hit a pedestrian early Sunday in Reston.

According to the Fairfax County Police Department, a officer was driving through the intersection of Reston Parkway and Sunset Hills Road around 2 a.m. when the cruiser hit the 42-year-old woman as she was crossing.

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries and was released from the hospital.

Police believe alcohol may have been a factor for the woman.

Speed and alcohol were not considered factors for the officer, police said.

Anyone with information about the crash should call FCPD’s crash reconstruction unit at 703-280-0543.

Photo via FCPD

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Monday Morning Notes

Lane Closures This Week — Work on phase two of the Silver Line will prompt several lane and ramp closures this week, including Herndon Parkway, Edmund Halley Drive, Sunrise Valley Drive and Sunset Hills Road. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

If Farsi Is Your Tongue — Fairfax County is seeking volunteers who speak Farsi to help older adults in the community with their groceries. Volunteers are needed in Reston twice a month on weekends or weekdays. [Fairfax County Government]

Feedback on I-95 Corridor Study Sought — “The Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment, the Virginia Department of Transportation, and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation, under the leadership of the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB), are developing a plan to study Virginia’s 179 miles of the Interstate 95 corridor between the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria, Virginia and the North Carolina border.” [Virginia Department of Transportation]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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