2020 Legal Elite — Labor/Employment Law Profile
David A. Kushner, Willcox & Savage PC, Norfolk
Title: Partner and chair of Labor and Employment Practice Group
Other legal specialties: Fair housing defense, trade secret litigation
Education: Bachelor’s degree and law degree, University of Virginia
Spouse: Nichole A. Kushner
Children: Sloane, 8; Bayla, 4
Fan of: Tony Bennett (the U.Va. basketball coach, although the singer is pretty great too)
Recently read book: “The Mathews Men: Seven Brothers and the War Against Hitler’s U-boats,” by William Geroux
Hobbies or pastimes: Time with my three girls (and dog Shekels), hiking, and all things U.Va. basketball
Favorite vacation spot: Anywhere in the mountains of Virginia
Career mentors: Billy Furr, Susan Blackman, Tommy Johnson and a host of great attorneys at Willcox Savage
What sort of cases are you seeing related to the pandemic?
For the first few months of the pandemic, litigation was actually relatively light. This was in part due to enhanced unemployment and the delay of a number of trials. However, my consulting practice was almost nonstop with questions about the ever-changing laws, furloughs, reductions in force and back-to-work issues. With Virginia’s new employment laws, we are expecting a significant increase in employment litigation in 2021 and beyond.
How have you seen changes in employment law since the #MeToo movement?
After the #MeToo movement, I have seen businesses become even less tolerant of inappropriate workplace conduct of all types (including sexual harassment). Misconduct and harassment that may have resulted in a final written warning 15 years ago is often grounds for immediate termination today. Anecdotally (and somewhat counterintuitively), businesses seem to be experiencing less sexual harassment litigation and charges post-#MeToo, which I attribute to the increased focus on stopping worker misconduct before it rises to the level of actionable harassment.
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