Virginia – #1 in Business (code for #50 for employees?)
I have heard it my whole life – “Virginia is open for Business!“
As the daughter of a business owner, as a child I was proud of the moniker.
As an attorney who now (a) owns a business and (b) primarily represents employees in business disputes, I have a new take on the open for business tag line, and #1 in Business Title by CNBC.
In sum, when businesses win, employees often lose.
One reason Virginia took the top spot this year, according to Virginia Business Magazine, is the “business- friendly regulatory environment.” Well, what does that really mean?
In sum, and in practice, it means this:
- Right to work state (can’t be forced to join a union)
- Very few unions in public sector
- Very little codified law on how companies must treat employees
- Courts that will enforce a non-compete agreement (even if it means you must move your family or change jobs)
- No protected classes outside of federal law – so you can be fired in Virginia, for being gay, or trans, or…
- Medical Malpractice caps that allow hospitals and doctors to keep insurance costs down
- Major energy companies finding little state regulation to prevent pipeline construction, takings, etc.
- Few if any laws that control hiring, firing and employee rights
Business Friendliness (175 points)
The CNBC poll describes business friendliness (for which Virginia ranks 3/50) as:
We evaluate the legal and regulatory climates of each state, as well as overall economic freedom for businesses and individuals.
Wow. For once I am slightly ashamed to be a winner. Or, at least I wish we were paying attention to a different game, one where employees and employers have rights.