Legal Insider: When to Consult with a Security Clearance Lawyer

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.

We meet with federal employees and government contractors who are facing issues in the security clearance process.

They often ask our attorneys at what point they should consult with a security clearance attorney to assist, advise or represent them. The usual response is that an individual with a potential security concern should do so as soon as possible. Generally, the earlier that a person with possible security concerns consults with a security clearance lawyer, the better the odds become in avoiding a potential adverse outcome.

What Does a Security Clearance Lawyer Do?

There are a number of ways that an experienced lawyer in security clearance law can help someone with security concerns. It is often the case that they can advise an individual regarding potential strategies before a security clearance problem develops.

We have found that most individuals have a good sense as to whether or not they may have a security concern (e.g. recent drug use, bankruptcy, foreign contacts) as they prepare to complete their security clearance forms like the e-QIP, SF-86 and/or different various of the SF-85. The earlier advice is sought when there is an issue, the more that can be possibly done to mitigate the concern.

Clearance lawyers also advise individuals during the investigative process and during any security clearance responses or appeals.

Delays Can Hurt the Ability to Mitigate Security Concerns

One of the major issues that we see in the clearance process is where an individual has waited too long to consider or in starting to address a potential security clearance concern until it may be too late.

Sometimes, individuals who have had financial issues which could have been explained or refuted initially, wait too long thinking that if they lose during the clearance hearing or personal appearance that they will just retain an attorney further on in the appeals process. This is usually the worst strategy.

When people with serious security concerns have waited too long to address them, or gone through an in person response without representation, it is usually too late to do much on further appeal. One example I remember is a case where a government contractor had an alleged debt that was overdue, didn’t respond with evidence that it was not his debt thinking that he could appeal it after the administrative judge had ruled.

The debt was clearly not his, but because the clearance appeal could only be based on the evidence already presented, the clearance could not be saved.

Early Advice Can Save Embarrassment and Help Career

It is not uncommon that we anticipate a serious issue with someone obtaining a security clearance, i.e. recent arrest or recent drug use and recommend backing out of the process before a final decision is rendered. In serious cases where it looks like a security clearance may not be granted, a clearance lawyer can advise an individual about whether or not to accept the position and move forward or quietly decline and try later.

It can be the case that an individual can withdraw from the process, wait a bit more time to go through the clearance process and potentially resolve the issues later. This helps them avoid the embarrassment of taking on employment and leaving their current position only to be terminated a short time later when their clearance is not approved and they are left unemployed.

It can also help them potentially avoid having to declare a negative clearance outcome on future forms. A security clearance lawyer can also help to put an applicant’s mind at ease if they are concerned about an issue.

Legal Representation in Clearance Denials or Proposed Denials

If an interim or permanent security clearance is at risk or is denied, an individual will definitely need a security clearance lawyer. Each federal agency uses the same adjudicative guidelines but have unique procedures to that agency for processing and appealing an outcome. This is the case even though all federal agencies fall under the same Executive Order 12968.

It is also important that the individual consult with experienced counsel where they can explain any issues that individual federal agencies are particularly sensitive to. For instance, the FBI is more sensitive to prior drug use by applicants or employees and many intelligence agencies are sensitive to the potential for foreign influence; each federal agency varies.

Each federal agency usually has a written and personal appearance stage (or hearing) for those who need to appeal a denial or proposed denial in the security clearance appeals process. While different, each federal agency will provide some form of a Statement of Reasons (SOR) or Notice of Intent to Revoke (NOI) which explains, to varying degrees, the security concern(s) at issue.

An experienced security clearance lawyer will be versed in the latest agency rules governing responses and appeals before the individual agency involved and will be able to assist a person in preparing their written submission and representing them during the hearing process.

Conclusion

If you are in need of security clearance representation or advice, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Reston Real Estate: Condominium Market

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

I’ve been writing about the fast pace of Reston real estate and about the constrained inventory.

It’s true that things are moving fast — although not all segments of the market are moving with the same intensity. More than half of Reston’s current housing inventory is condominiums. Condos also account for slightly less than 50% of the year-to-date property sales.

This segment of the market has its own dynamics.

I’m always writing about the price sensitivity of our markets — this is especially true in the condo market. Because the condo market has a larger supply you must price to drive motivation from the buyers. Presentation is also especially important in the condo market — you have more competition so you need to make your property stand out to the buyers.

Reston has a huge variety of types and prices of condos, from very low density properties like Vantage Hill to much more urban settings like Reston Town Center.

Likewise, prices cover a huge range as well; current condo listing prices go from a low of $189,900 for a garden style in South Reston to $1,750,000 for a penthouse property in Reston Town Center; clearly something for every price point.

For many buyers condominium living has a lot to offer. If you’re a person who can deal with living in closer proximity to your neighbors, then condo living might be a good option.

Many people love being able to just shut the door and go without having to worry about yard work and everything else that comes with single family living.

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Pet of the Week: Ginger

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Ginger, a Hound mix adult available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Boxer Rescue and Adoption Inc have to say about her:

Ginger needs a family to give her attention, love and the time to turn her into their special girl. She has learned a lot while she’s been with us and we’d love to see her get a home that has a fenced yard.

Give her a Jolly Ball and she’ll play with it by herself. Ginger needs someone who can wear her out playing, taking walks, or just plain loving on her.

Ginger is very pretty and is a sweet girl, but needs lessons in how to behave nicely. She plays with our younger rescues, but is way too mouthy, which could cause trouble with dogs that don’t know her.

Are you and Ginger a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

The past 10 days saw 23 Reston properties make it to a successful settlement and another 47 properties go under contract.

In that same period of time we added 57 new listings plus 6 are showing as “Coming Soon.” We’re adding a few more to the market than we’re selling but not by much; total inventory of houses for sell is still under 200.

Of those 200 houses currently on the market more than half are condominiums. The single family market in Reston is very constrained with just 29 properties currently on the market; 62 townhouses round out the balance of the housing inventory.

Prices of the properties that went under contract or sold in the past 10 days ranged from a $175,000 condo to a $1,195,000 single family home — Reston really does have something for every home buyer’s budget.

Here are some of the recent sales:

1386 Cameron Heath Drive
4 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $1,250,000
Sold Price: $1,195,000

 

 

11315 Handlebar Road
4 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $749,000
Sold Price: $740,000

 

 

2042 Royal Fern Court #1B
2 BR/1 BA
List Price: $230,000
Sold Price: $238,000

 

 

11233 Silentwood Lane
2 BR/1.5 BA
List Price: $374,900
Sold Price: $374,900

 

 

1629 Parkcrest Circle 
2 BR/2 BA
List Price: $278,500
Sold Price: $275,000

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Reno of the Month: Community Matters

By Nicola Caul Shelley, Synergy Design & Construction

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” This inspirational quote from Helen Keller has been a guiding principle at Synergy Design & Construction since the company was founded over 10 years ago.

It has been important from the very beginning to grow our impact within our local community — especially to those in need — just as much as growing the Company. That’s why it is such an honor to be recognized for this commitment as a 2019 Best of Reston Honoree!

Best of Reston recognizes the contributions of individuals, businesses, civic and community institutions and organizations who demonstrate significant contributions to the greater Reston/Herndon area through their philanthropy and volunteerism. So, this month, rather than feature one of our remodels, we are celebrating our Community and our Team.

Beyond the sticks and bricks of beautiful remodels, there is an underlying dedication at Synergy to give back to others.

Our team members show their commitment every day from working on housing repairs at Cornerstones transitional housing, helping make the holidays special at the Embry Rucker Community Center, mentoring and participating in the Special Olympics Virginia, donating to ReStore, leading Girl Scout Troops, running an arts program at a local elementary school to our recent participation in Walk MS Reston… and much, much more!

Inspired to volunteer? Here are more ways to get involved in our community:

  • Cornerstones offers year round volunteer opportunities
  • Reston Community Center has a number of needs throughout the year
  • You don’t need Marie Kondo to have a clear out. Green Drop will pick donations up right from your front door
  • Volunteer Reston offers teen volunteer youth/family groups opportunities for middle and high schoolers
  • All about the arts? Greater Reston Arts Center needs volunteers of the Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in May
  • Help make someone’s day brighter at Reston Hospital Center by delivering flowers, helping at the Information Desk or visiting with patients
  • Give nature a helping hand from bird box monitoring to wildlife counts to Earth Day projects at the Walker Nature Center

Read more about our Best of Reston Honor and how we try to make a difference everyday in our local community. If you see us out and about, come and say “Hello!”

Ready to remodel with a company who cares? Get in touch!

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Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

The Reston market is moving at a really brisk pace.

It’s a great time to sell, if you’re buying it’s a little more challenging. In either case the key to success is being ready. If you’re selling do all that you can to get your house ready. If you’re buying get your paperwork in order with your lender so you can get qualified quickly.

Here are a few newcomers to the Reston real estate market:

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Pet of the Week: Princess

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Princess, a domestic short hair adult female available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Fancy Cats Rescue Team have to say about her:

Princess is extremely affectionate, curious and gentle.

She likes to greet you with a meow, or by rubbing up against your legs. She is content to hang out with you on the couch and will snuggle up next to you, especially at night. She loves to use her scratching post regularly.

Princess thoroughly enjoys bird and squirrel watching too! She loves to be brushed and scratched under her chin, and will reward you with rumbling purrs.

Are you and Princess a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Legal Insider: Getting a New Job After Termination

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.

We represent employees in Virginia who have been fired from their employment. Sometimes, our representation involves claims against the employer and/or negotiations and other times it involves the issue of how they obtain a new position in light of their termination.

The following are 7 tips to consider if an employee ever finds themselves in this particular situation.

Handle Termination Day Calmly

When an employee is terminated, it can be an extreme shock. Sometimes the reasons are known, sometimes the employee is specifically informed about the underlying issues, and other times they really cannot figure out why. In any case, it is very important to handle termination day with as much grace as possible.

Be calm, follow any reasonable instructions and be polite as you leave. Doing so will help the former employee in the future when they are applying for other work. We have represented many employees where termination day ended up badly and the employer made additional notes in their personnel record or even contacted the police.

If Wrongful Termination is Potentially Involved, Obtain Legal Advice

When an employee has been fired, it is important for them to consider all of their options. If there has been a potential illegal action taken by the employer against the employee (e.g. firing the employee for whistleblowing or based on illegal discrimination) it is important to get legal advice about whether or not to pursue any legal options about the termination.

If a wrongful termination exists, there may be ways for an attorney to resolve the matter with the company in a way that makes the employee more readily employable.

Where Appropriate File for Unemployment Compensation

If an employee is terminated unjustly, it can be worth it for them to apply for unemployment compensation while they are finding a new position. Sometimes, employers decline to object to compensation or fail to show up at such hearings. In many cases, employees can be awarded unemployment compensation even if they have been fired.

Prepare an Updated Resume

When an individual who has been fired starts the job search, it is important to work on their resume. Even though the individual has been terminated, it is important to update their resume and list all of their experience and any skills or education gained from the past employer. The sooner this is done, the quicker the ability to rebound becomes.

Write a Note to the Former Supervisor

While this may be difficult, writing a thank you note to a former supervisor can go a long way to mitigating what they may say to another employer. This can be difficult, especially if the employee was treated unfairly, but it can pay significant dividends in terms of future employability. Many supervisors, even if they fire an employee will feel some guilt in doing so.

If an employee responds with a kind letter to them, it can go a long way in mitigating any bad feelings. I find that when terminated employees take this step, many former supervisors will provide them recommendations when they apply for other positions.

Use Other Contacts as References if Needed

Sometimes a supervisor will not provide a reference for your prior employment. In that case, it is important to find others who can potentially vouch for an employee’s service during their prior employment.

For example, sometimes a former supervisor who is no longer with the employer is willing to provide a positive recommendation. In other instances, former co-workers can sometimes provide a recommendation as well.

Practice Job Interviews

When trying to get a new position after being fired, it is important to practice interview skills. It is also particularly important to be able to explain the termination if need be, and to provide other references. It is usually good advice to stay away from sounding defensive or vindictive toward the former employer in explaining the reasons for termination.

A calm and neutral explanation of the termination is usually the best strategy. However, practicing the delivery is very important.

Take an Interim Job if Necessary

Sometimes, when a termination is based on difficult facts for the former employee, it can be important to take a less than ideal employment position to bridge the gap from the termination.

Basically, in this type of situation, the employee takes a position that either doesn’t pay as much as they are used to or where they are overqualified in order to have a current position on their resume as they apply to their ideal position later. This often alleviates or minimizes future concerns from the prior termination.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law advice or representation, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Listed

This is a sponsored post by Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate.

The spring market is upon us!

Inventory is low but new listings are generally keeping pace with property going under contract. The middle of the market from 475k-675k is super active and days on market is dropping.

I know I say this every, single week — but it bears repeating. If you are selling your property, the speed of this market is not driving crazy price escalations. If you want to see multiple contracts you should try to come on the market just a little bit on the lower side of your range. That is your very best chance of getting multiple offers with favorable terms.

Status: Pending Sales Past 10 Days

Here are some of the new houses to hit the market:

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Pet of the Week: Ivy

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Ivy, a black Shepherd and Retriever mix puppy available for adoption locally.

Here is what her friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say:

She may be little but she packs a whole lot of personality in that little body!

She is a shepherd/retriever mix who you can just tell by her face is going to be one sweet puppy! She lives up to her name weighing in at 7 lbs at 9 weeks so we don’t believe she will be much more than 40 lbs full grown.

Just the right size for this little love bug! This little sweetie is just the right mix of shyness, curiousness and looking for that permanent home that has her favorite human to love!

Are you and Ivy a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

Buyers are feeling the pinch of the limited housing inventory — especially in the middle price range of the market.

Days on market is averaging 19 with lots and lots of properties going in just 2 or 3 days. Escalation clauses are making a comeback as buyers struggle to position their offers as “the best” among many.

So, what can a buyer do to stand out in a crowd?

Here are a few things that can help:

  • Have your financing in order. Get prequalified by a well-known (I prefer “brick & mortar”), lender. Have your letter in-hand ready to go.
  • Focus on property that has been on the market for a while. In this market if a property has been on the market for 10+ days, it’s likely overpriced. Time usually softens a seller’s view on the value of their property.
  • Make your home inspection for informational purposes only. This may sound scary but you’ll retain your right to void your contract if you find something wrong. Many sellers will become negotiable once they see the results of an inspection.
  • Be ready to move fast — have your agent set up “auto-searches” for your target neighborhoods and be ready to go see houses as soon as they hit the market.
  • Don’t abandon common sense. Be reasonable, be patient, it will happen eventually.

Here are a few of the houses that sold in the past week in Reston.

Sold & Pending Sale — Past 10 Days

11326 Bright Pond Lane
5 BR/ 3.5 BA
List price: $999,000
Sold Price: $999,000

 

 

2229 Cedar Cove Court
3 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $590,000
Sold Price: $592,000

 

 

2270 Wheelwright Court
3 BR/2 BA, 2 half bath
List Price: $473,000
Sold Price: $469,900

 

 

1553 Brookshire Court
3 BR/2 BA
List Price: $400,000
Sold Price: $412,000

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Pet of the Week: Magic Mikey

Becky's Pet Care

Meet Magic Mikey, a male Labrador Retriever and Border Collie mix puppy available for adoption locally.

Here is what his friends at Safe Haven Puppy Rescue have to say about him:

This 5 1/2 month old boy is sweet as can be and ready for a forever home of his own.

He has a gorgeous blonde coat and is up to date on his shots and is neutered. He came into our shelter with his brother Ripley and boy oh boy is someone going to be lucky to have this pup!

He is happy to play and to snuggle and gets along well with other dogs. We estimate that he will grow up to be about 60 pounds or so.

Are you and Magic Mikey a match? If so, let us know and our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, will send you some treats and prizes.

Want your pet to be considered for the Reston Pet of the Week?

Email [email protected] with a 2-3 paragraph bio and at least 3-4 horizontally-oriented photos of your pet. Each week’s winner receives a sample of dog or cat treats from our sponsor, Becky’s Pet Care, along with $100 in Becky’s Bucks.

Becky’s Pet Care, the winner of three Angie’s List Super Service Awards and the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters’ 2013 Business of the Year, provides professional dog walking and pet sitting services in Reston and Northern Virginia.

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Reston Real Estate: Reston’s Changing Landscape

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

The impact of Metro on Reston is hard to miss.

Anyone who’s tried to cross the Dulles Toll Road at rush hour can attest to changes we’ve gone through over the past 5 years. In addition to the impact on traffic and travel, Metro has also had an impact on neighborhoods.

Over the next several weeks I’m going to write about neighborhoods that fall within a 1 mile radius of the three Reston/Herndon Metro stops. This week we’re looking at Polo Fields.

Polo Fields consists of approximately 400 single family homes that were built between 1981 and 1996. They range in size from over 3000 sq. ft. with 6 bedrooms and 4 bath units, to more modest 1800 sq. ft. 3 bedroom 2 bath homes. They generally have nice flat yards that are great for kids and dogs. Many of the houses boast beautiful and welcoming front porches.

Home prices over the past year have ranged from a low 508,000 for a smaller (1875 sq. ft.), property that needed a good bit infrastructure work like windows, roof, HVAC, etc., to a high of $735,000 for a larger 300 sq. ft. plus a finished basement, property that was in tip-top, move-in ready condition.

This has always been a neighborhood that sells well — days on market last year averaged just 14 days, which is about 1/3 of what the overall Reston market averaged.

These homes, which are already really, really desirable have gotten a HUGE location upgrade. Every single one of them is less than one mile to the new metro stop — all of them are a 20 minute or less walk from front door to station — many of them are fewer than 10 minutes from door to station.

It was a really good neighborhood before — being walkable to the Metro bumps this neighborhood up to super desirable.

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Reston Real Estate: Just Sold

This is a sponsored post from Eve Thompson of Reston Real Estate. For a more complete picture of home sales in your neighborhood, contact her on Reston Real Estate.

It was a busy weekend in Reston Real Estate.

Lots of buyers are in the hunt for new homes. Limited inventory has created some interesting dynamics. Open house traffic has been enormous and many agents are reporting multiple contracts on their listings.

This has not created crazy price increases; as you can see in the chart below, property is generally selling very close to its list or “last” list price. The exception to this price/inventory dynamic is at the mid-range of the market. Townhouses that are price under 500 and especially in the mid-400 range are very competitive.

My advice to sellers no matter what price their property; come on the market right at the market price, based on recent sales and you’ll have greater control of the selling process. Going on the market high thinking you need “room to negotiate” will only result in extra days on market and ultimately less cash in your pocket.

Sold Past 30 Days — Reston

Here are few of the homes that settled recently in Reston:

11041 Saffold Way
4 BR/2.5 BA
List Price: $ 440,000
Sold Price: $450,000

 

 

2604 Mountain Laurel Place
4 BR/2 BA, 2 half bath
List Price: $699,900
Sold Price: $595,000

 

 

12369 Lima Lane
4 BR/3.5 BA
List Price: $659,000
Sold Price: $662,000

 

 

1601 Purple Sage Drive
2 BR/1.5 BA
List Price: $370,000
Sold Price: $375,000

 

 

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Legal Insider: Types of Leave for Virginia Employees

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.

This article covers the availability of different forms of leave for Virginia private sector employees under Virginia law.

Vacation or Annual Leave

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, private sector employers are not required to provide employees with vacation or annual leave benefits, whether they are paid or unpaid. If an employer chooses to provide this type of leave to employees, however, it must comply with the terms of the employer’s established policy or employment contract.

A private sector employer must pay an employee for accrued annual/vacation leave upon separation from employment if its policy or contract provides for such payment. The courts in the Commonwealth of Virginia have not provided much guidance with respect to leave rights, so an employer is generally free to mostly develop their own annual leave/vacation leave policy.

This means that even if there is a vacation/annual leave policy, the employer could make it a “use or lose” policy or deny payment of annual leave if the employer’s policy is silent on the issue.

Sick Leave

There is no requirement for employers to provide private sector employees with sick leave benefits, whether they are paid or unpaid under Virginia law. However, if an employer chooses to provide sick leave benefits to employees, it must comply with the terms of the employer’s established policies or applicable employment contract.

That said, an employer in Virginia is still subject to the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and other federal laws regarding sick leave that must be given to an employee. Generally, under FMLA, the federal law provides certain employees with up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year.

Bereavement Leave

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, the law does not require private-sector employers to give  employees bereavement leave. Bereavement leave is taken by an employee usually due to the death of a close relative.

An employer may choose to provide bereavement leave and may be required to comply with any bereavement policy or practice it maintains. Generally, however, there is no entitlement to bereavement leave.

Holiday Leave 

In terms of holiday leave, Virginia law also does not require private employers to provide this type of leave to employees. This applies to both paid and unpaid leave. In fact, Virginia employers can require an employee to work holidays.

A private-sector employer does not have to pay an employee premium pay, such as 1½ times the regular pay rate, for working on holidays, unless such time worked qualifies the employee for overtime under the governing overtime laws (e.g., Fair Labor Standards Act). If an employer chooses to provide either paid/unpaid holiday leave, it must comply with the terms of their established policy or employment contract.

Jury Duty Leave

In Virginia, a private sector employer is not required to pay an employee for time spent on jury duty. However, there is a provision of the Virginia Code which makes it against the law for an

employer to discharge or take any other adverse action against an employee for jury duty service if the employee has given reasonable notice of their required service.

In addition, an employer cannot require an employee to take sick, annual or vacation leave when responding to a jury summons or service on the jury if reasonable notice to the employer has been given.

Military Leave

Similar to federal law, under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA), Virginia has laws that protect the employment status of the men and women who serve in the armed forces.

Virginia law prohibits employers from discharging or otherwise discriminating against an employee because he or she is a member of the Virginia National Guard, Virginia State Defense Force or naval militia. The Virginia law covers all public and private employers, regardless of size. An employer that violates this provision can be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Voter Leave

The Commonwealth of Virginia does not have a law that requires an employer to grant its employees leave, paid or unpaid, to vote. This should be changed, in the author’s opinion, but that is the case today. However, Virginia law does require an employer to provide an employee time off to serve as an election officer if the employee has given reasonable notice of the need for leave.

Such leave need not be paid by the employer. The leave does not need to be paid. A Virginia employer that fails to allow an employee to take time off to serve as an election officer can be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Conclusion

If you are in need of employment law advice or assistance, please contact our office at 703-668-0070 or through our contact page to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook or Twitter.

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