Virginia Small Business: Other Recent Changes to Virginia Employment Law

As a close out of our 2020 Small Business Week posts, it is important to know that Virginia law has shifted in three other important, but smaller facets: pay transparency, whistleblower protections, and questions regarding simple possession of marijuana.

Pay Transparency

Under new legislation, employers cannot restrict employees from discussing their pay and wages. Unlike some other changes, however, Virginia code § 40.1-28.7:7 does  not afford employees a private right of action in the case of a violation, and the law does not apply to human relations staff regarding other employees.

Virginia code § 40.1-28.7:7 can, however, be enforced by the Commissioner, who can assign fines of up to $100 per violation.

As a reminder, employers must give detailed pay stubs to employees that show the number of hours worked–and this includes salaried employees who make less than the standard level, which is currently $35,568.

Whistleblower Protections

Another change lies in the new protections for employees that report internal or external violations of any federal or state law or regulation. Virginia Code § 40.1-277.3 prohibits employers from discharging, disciplining, threatening, discriminating against or penalizing any employee who does so. Such complaints by employees must be made in good faith under the law, and the employee is not protected if their claims were false or made with reckless disregard for the truth, if the information is privileged information or if the disclosure by the employee is illegal.

Virginia Code § 40.1-277.3 provides a private right of action for employees against employers who violate this law. Employees can seek injunctive relief, reinstatement, lost wages, and benefits.


As of July 1, 2020, simple possession of marijuana is decriminalized–not legalized–in Virginia. Simple possession is generally considered to be anything under one ounce. With the decriminalization of marijuana in Virginia comes a new responsibility for employers (and educational institutions) to update applications and manuals to address the change.


To close out our review of changes to Virginia Employment Law in this years Small Business Week, if you have questions about how these changes to the law affect your business, or have other small business law questions, we would like to help.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to Winslow & McCurry at (804) 423-1382 or to schedule a consultation.