Paul G. Beers


The focus of this article is upon employment law in Virginia during 1993 and the first half of 1994. In addition, significant judicial decisions from 1992 are covered. Workers' compensation and unemployment compensation are excluded as topics. Public sector employment law also lies outside the scope of this article. Nevertheless, two decisions of the Supreme Court of Virginia which involve public employees are analyzed. The most turbulent and rapidly evolving area of Virginia employment law lies in tort. The decisions discussed below indicate that employees stand only a modest chance of recovering against their employers in wrongful discharge suits based on implied contract or promissory estoppel theories. Recently, however, employees have made notable gains in the Supreme Court of Virginia, as new decisions have expanded their right to recover against employers in tort for unjust dismissal and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On the other hand, employers have had resounding success as plaintiffs, suing former employees in tort for breach of fiduciary duty and intentional interference with contractual relations.