PROFESSIONALS ARE NOT PROTECTED BY THE
VIRGIN ISLANDS WRONGFUL DISCHARGE ACT (VIWDA)
Who is covered under the VIWDA?
The VIWDA applies to all regular employees in the Virgin Islands who have been employed by an employer for at least six (6) months, with certain specific exceptions.
Who is not covered under the VIWDA?
The VIWDA does not apply to public employees, seamen, agricultural laborers, volunteers, temporary aliens, or domestic servants. The VIWDA also does not apply to executives and professionals.
Who are considered professionals under the VIWDA?
The VIWDA does not specifically define who qualifies as an executive or professional. In some cases, the Virgin Islands Department of Labor has turned to the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) for guidance. The FLSA lists some categories of professionals who are exempt from the FLSA: certified medical technologists, nurses, dental hygienists, physician assistants, accountants, chefs, paralegals, athletic trainers, and funeral directors. Medical doctors, lawyers, and some teachers are also exempt from the FLSA. Only persons who meet specific educational and training requirements meet these definitions.
An employee’s title does not guarantee the FLSA does or does not apply. Additionally, FLSA may not apply to every employee; however it is important to know that it does not leave an employee without a solution. There may be other ways to enforce the rights outside of the FLSA.
If you need further information, please do hesitate to call us.