CVLAS' client worked for a major national bank for eight years. The sole reason for her firing was an alleged violation of the bank's Code of Conduct and Ethics. She had written three checks to payday lenders - in the amounts of $575, $575 and $345 - and later had stop payments placed on those three checks to avoid the checks being returned for insufficient funds. Two of the stop payments successfully returned the checks; however, one of the checks was cashed despite the stop payment, causing her account to be overdrawn. The bank believed this violated the Code of Conduct and Ethics that specifically "prohibits improper transactions by employees such as, but not limited to, writing worthless personal checks and conducting fraudulent or worthless activities." CVLAS's client had taken out the three payday loans to help her mother who had an operation in July 2005 and had been out of work for about three months. Her mother was supposed to pay her back, but did not. During her eight years of employment, she had no prior work-related warnings or write-ups.
Unemployment compensation was denied on grounds of a discharge for work-related misconduct. The Appeals Examiner's decision held that she had been discharged for reasons other than work-related misconduct and was not disqualified for benefits. The bank appealed, and the Special Examiner reversed the award of unemployment compensation. After an appeal to the City of Richmond Circuit Court, the Judge reversed the Virginia Employment Commission's final disqualification decision. The court observed that a check written to a payday lender - even if the indebtedness is not paid by the loan's due date - is not "worthless check," nor is it an improper, fraudulent or worthless transaction. Rather, a check written to a payday lender simply is security for the loan, and is merely a promise or representation to the payday lender that the loan will be paid in the future, with the check given as the security for this promise. The Judge found that the bank did not carry its burden of showing that CVLAS's client deliberately, intentionally or willfully violated the rule against writing worthless checks, or that she had willfully failed to exercise good personal financial judgment.
The recently unemployed client walked into CVLAS on October 30, The letter from his landlady said he must be out of the apartment by October 31, because she had been awarded possession of the rental unit. The landlady also had issued a "5 day pay or quit" notice for October rent of $450.00. The landlady had received a judgment of eleven months earlier. After that, the tenant had paid the judgment. He also paid all rent through and including September. His landlady did not give him any notice accepting rent with reservation. The CVLAS emergency attorney advised the tenant that because the landlady did not give him these notices, she had waived the right to evict and would have to file a new unlawful detainer. While the tenant still was in the office, the emergency attorney phoned and spoke with the landlady and explained this. The landlady said she understood and would file a new unlawful detainer for October rent and possession.
However, the next day, the landlady had the court issue a Writ of Possession to evict the tenant on November 7. The client returned to CVLAS on Friday, November 3 with the Writ of Possession. That day's emergency attorney immediately filed and served a Motion to Quash Writ of Possession and set it for Monday, November 6. The motion argued that the landlady's acceptance of payments had waived her right to evict under Code of Virginia §55-248.34:1. Despite notice, the landlady failed to show for the hearing. The court granted a two week stay of eviction. On November 20, both parties appeared and the court squashed the Writ, allowing the tenant to remain. At that time, the newly employed tenant also paid October & November's rent in full.