Injunction Saves Employers...For Now

By: Jarrod Aldom
By: Jarrod Aldom

Virginia businesses are off the hook for now, but they don't have long to fix a blue law blunder the legislature made this past session. A Richmond judge has granted them a 90-day temporary injunction blocking the new law that gives workers a weekend day off for religious purposes. WHSV found out why the law has businesses singing the blues.

The legislature was trying to modernize shopping laws that have existed on the books for decades. But in doing so, they repealed an obsolete law that once guaranteed nonmanagement workers a day off on the Sabbath as well. Since taking effect July 1st, its blindsided some employers, most of whom had never heard of it.

So what does this new law mean for local businesses? Well, at a place like Sheetz which is open on the weekend and employs a lot of people it means any one of them can ask for either Saturday or Sunday for religious purposes. And the Chamber of Commerce says that's going to be a problem.

"It can have a significant impact especially locally where you have a combination of a lot of retail businesses, a lot of tourism oriented businesses and a number of manufacturing and farming operations that rely on a certain level of workforce," says Harrisonburg, Rockingham Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Christine Michaels.

Employers can face up to a 500 dollar fine if they don't comply with the law. Michaels says businesses need to be patient until the problem can be worked out. It will take a special session of the legislature to fix the mistake.

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