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    A Gathering Storm: Weathering the 2020 Virginia Employment Law Amendments

    Date: June 18, 2020, 12:00pm – 1:30pm
    NRV SHRM, Western District SHRM, and surrounding SHRM Friends
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    Event Type:
    Virtual Meeting
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    A Gathering Storm: Weathering the 2020 Virginia Employment Law Amendments

    Description:On April 11, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed nearly two dozen bills into law, many of which will have a significant impact on employers, employees, and the broader Virginia workforce. While the extension of anti-discrimination protections to Virginians on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has garnered the most media attention, Governor Northam also signed numerous other bills that provide additional protections against workplace discrimination, aim to prevent worker misclassification and wage violations, limit the use of non-compete agreements, and in most cases create private causes of action for enforcement. Collectively, these bills will usher in extreme changes to the employment climate in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Because the bills become effective July 1, 2020, employers should act now to review their practices and take any actions required to avoid the gathering storm.

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    Jim Cowan Jr.:

    Jim is the Chairman of CowanPerry PC. His practice focuses on representing management in the full spectrum of labor & employment related issues confronted by employers in today’s workplace, handling complex business litigation matters and representing property owners and developers on land use issues and commercial real estate projects. He represents a wide range of employers, business owners and developers in the region, ranging from high-tech start-ups to large manufacturers, and from local property owners to national developers.

    He has twenty-five years of trial experience representing employers in non-compete litigation, myriad types of business and partnership disputes, and the waterfront of employment-related litigation, including employee benefits and ERISA claims.

    Over the course of his career, he has represented companies in federal and state courts across Virginia in commercial litigation and in the defense of wrongful discharge claims, including disability, age, family medical leave, sexual harassment, race, and gender under the Americans with Disabilities Act; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; the Family Medical Leave Act and Fair Labor Standards Act; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. §1981; and before the Virginia Supreme Court on appellate matters. Jim also represents employers before the NLRB, the EEOC and the Virginia Employment Commission. Additionally, he specializes in the preparation of affirmative action plans and responding to OFCCP and other Department of Labor audits.

    Jim serves as outside general counsel to a number of prominent companies and non-profits in the region, and as the general counsel to Onward, the New River Valley’s economic development alliance. He is passionate about land conservation in Southwest Virginia, and is an active member of the Board of Directors of the New River Land Trust. Jim is also a sought-after speaker and corporate trainer locally and for national programs, and is an active member of the Virginia State Bar Labor & Employment Section.

    Finally, Jim has been recognized for over a decade and listed in “The Best Lawyers in America” [since 2006 to present]; as a Virginia “Super Lawyer” [Rising Star 2007-2009; and since 2010 to present]; and also repeatedly named to Virginia Business Magazine’s “Legal Elite” for Labor/Employment law.

    Eric Chapman:

    Eric focuses his practice in the areas of business litigation, employment law, and corporate transactions. He helps clients navigate employment law issues, including E.E.O.C., ADA, Title VII, and ADEA claims. Eric’s experience in evaluating and analyzing employment law claims makes him a valuable member of the litigation team and allows him to advise clients on preventing employment issues and strategically resolving them when they arise. Additionally, he draws upon his eclectic work and management experiences to craft unique and cost-effective solutions for businesses. Prior to joining CowanPerry, Eric worked as a summer associate with LeClairRyan at their Blacksburg office, and as a paralegal at Charlson Bredehoft Cohen & Brown in Reston, Virginia. During law school, he served as a judicial intern for The Honorable James G. Welsh, United States Magistrate Judge for the Western District of Virginia, and as a yearlong extern for The Honorable Rebecca B. Connelly, United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Western District of Virginia. Additionally, while at Washington & Lee University School of Law, Eric was selected as a Burks Scholar, and taught legal research and writing skills to first-year law students. Eric is the Secretary of the Ted Dalton American Inns of Court and Board Member of the New River Valley Chapter of Society for Human Resources Management and the Community Foundation for the New River Valley. Eric frequently gives presentations on employment law, legal strategy, and employment law compliance to employers, legal associations, and SHRM Chapters. Eric has been identified as a SuperLaywers Rising Star in the area of Employment Law for the past five years.