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Legal Insider: Employee Advice for Handling a Termination

This is a sponsored column by attorneys John Berry and Kimberly Berry of Berry & Berry, PLLC, an employment and labor law firm located in Northern Virginia that specializes in federal employee, security clearance, retirement and private sector employee matters.

Termination from employment can be very devastating, especially when it is completely unexpected. Most often, employees allow their emotions to get the best of them and become angry upon receiving notice of termination from their employer. However, it is very important for employees to try to handle a termination the right way. Here are five tips to consider if you are being terminated:

  1. Handle Termination Day Without Getting Visibly Angry: This is by far the most important tip and usually one of the most difficult to do. Individuals who cannot keep their emotions in check often end up in a much worse situation than those who gather their belongings and leave quietly. For example, if an individual makes a scene when they are terminated, the employer may exaggerate the situation and call the police. Furthermore, leaving in a pleasant manner makes it much easier to settle a wrongful termination case with the employer later. By doing so, it also reduces the possibility that the employer will challenge the former employee’s attempt to obtain unemployment compensation or cause a problem if the former employee later applies for a security clearance or another employment position.
  2. Dont Take Employer Materials: Employees should be very careful not to take proprietary employer materials, physical items or other types of employer documents or digital materials without permission when leaving employment. If an employee brings forth a legal claim about termination it is often an employer defense to allege that the former employee stole materials (even information) or proprietary data.
  3. Dont Sign Agreements Presented at Termination: Employers will often try to limit their liability by presenting agreements to employees they are terminating. Such agreements might offer a week’s pay in exchange for extinguishing all of the employee’s rights or may even offer nothing. Given the emotional trauma of being terminated, individuals should never sign a binding agreement as they are being terminated. Before signing such an agreement, it is very important to have an attorney review it. Once such an agreement has been signed, it is very difficult to take any type of legal action later.
  4. Consult with an Attorney if Wrongful Termination Issues Arise: Not all terminations are wrongful under Virginia law. However, if an individual believes that he or she was wrongfully or illegally terminated and is concerned with his or rights, he or she should seek legal advice from an employment attorney in a timely manner since many employment rights are time sensitive.
  5. Obtain a Reference: If a former supervisor will not serve as a reference, try to seek others, such as former supervisors or coworkers, who no longer work for the former employer. Having employment references will vastly improve one’s chances of quickly obtaining new employment. Even if an individual has been terminated, having someone available who can speak to his or her work ability can help mitigate the damage of the termination.

It may seem like the end of the world when one is terminated, but in the vast majority of employment cases that we see individuals bounce back and obtain new employment relatively soon. Many of our former clients contact us a year or so after being terminated and tell us that they are in a better place of employment and are much happier. The odds of this happening will increase when a termination is handled with grace.

We represent employees in federal employment matters nationwide, as well as private and public sector employees in employment matters in the Commonwealth of Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. If you need assistance with an employment law issue, please contact our office at (703) 668-0070 or at www.berrylegal.com to schedule a consultation. Please also visit and like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/BerryBerryPllc.

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Arlington’s First Dedicated Poke Restaurant Open in Pentagon City

A culinary trend that took D.C. by storm over the past two years has finally landed in Arlington.

A poke restaurant opened recently in the food court of the Fashion Centre at Pentagon City mall. Called Poké it Up, the fast-casual eatery sells poke bowls — and burritos — featuring a variety of seafood, vegetables and sauces, ordered Chipotle-style at a counter.

Prices range from from $7.49 for a vegetarian option — a salad — to $12.95 for a large bowl or burrito with three scoops of fish. Certain ingredients come with an additional charge.

Though Shirlington restaurant Hula Girl has offered the now-trendy Hawaiian dish on its menu for some time, Poké it Up is the only dedicated poke restaurant in the county.

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Random Harvest Now Closed Along Lee Highway

Furniture store Random Harvest has closed its location at 4522 Lee Highway.

The store, in the Lee Heights Shops, carried “an exceptional handpicked selection of furniture and accessories.” It closed just before the new year.

“It has been a pleasure to have been part of the Lee Heights community over the past 10 years,” a sign on the door reads. “But all good things must come to an end and this location of Random Harvest is now closed.”

The sign says the store’s inventory will transferred to the company’s remaining locations, in Bethesda, Georgetown and Alexandria. However, a 50 percent off “pop up sale” is planned at the Lee Highway store Jan 18-21 and 25-28.

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Man Drives Off Side of I-395, Into Trees

A driver, possibly suffering a medical episode, drove into trees along southbound I-395 just past the 14th Street Bridge today.

The crash happened around 12:30 p.m. in the area of Boundary Channel Drive. A 911 caller reported that the man was unconscious but breathing and that smoke was coming from the hood of his SUV.

Virginia State Police were the first on scene and were assisted by Arlington County officers in shutting down a highway ramp and several lanes during the emergency response. A number of witnesses appear to have pulled over to help before police arrived.

The man was transported by medics to George Washington University Hospital with what were reported to be minor injuries, according to scanner traffic. The closed lanes have since reopened.

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County Offering Refunds on Tax Prepayments

With uncertainty still swirling about whether taxpayers can deduct property tax prepayments, Arlington County is offering refunds for those who have already made deposits.

County Treasurer Carla de la Pava said the county has already collected around $18.2 million in prepayments from 2,300 accounts, with it still unclear whether taxpayers can deduct those prepayments from their 2017 federal taxes.

And unlike some other jurisdictions, de la Pava said, Arlington is offering refunds on prepayments for those who have changed their minds about paying early. She said around 75 people so far have requested a refund.

“This bill was passed through Congress, and it was very quick and it caused a lot of uncertainty,” she said. “I do not want that uncertainty to penalize Arlington citizens.”

Under the new GOP tax bill, State and Local Tax (SALT) deductions are capped at $10,000. For many Arlington taxpayers with pricey homes, this means they will lose part of their deduction next year and thus potentially pay higher federal taxes.

The Treasurer’s Office issued an advisory on how to request a refund on December 28, the morning after a ruling by the IRS limiting deductions to property taxes assessed in 2017.

Arlington is unable to assess 2018 property taxes until the County Board sets the tax rate in April, and de la Pava said with so many things still up in the air, it was better to give taxpayers options.

“It’s interesting, because what I’ve heard from many people is that they are certainly not going to request a refund right away because I think there’s a sense in the community that… things might change,” she said. “I even had one customer suggest that there might be something brewing in Congress that would make that IRS advisory stale information. There’s a lot of uncertainty still.”

The full advisory issued by the Treasurer’s Office is after the jump.

If you prepaid property taxes and now want to request a refund, please note the following:

  • The refund request must be in writing.
  • The refund will be initiated no sooner than 14 days after payment.
  • A refund could take up to six weeks to process.

Please send emails to [email protected] with “Refund Request” in the subject line. Letters should be mailed to Arlington County Treasurer’s Office, Attn: Refund Request, 2100 Clarendon Blvd., Suite 201, Arlington, VA 22201. The following information should be included if possible.

  • Name
  • Address
  • Phone number (critical)
  • Email address
  • Type of tax (real estate or vehicle) you prepaid
  • Account number(s) or property address
  • Amount(s) you paid
  • Date you made prepayment(s)
  • How you paid (in person, online, or by mail)

Please note: the Arlington County Treasurer’s Office does not advise on the deductibility of tax prepayments for federal or state taxes.

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Ask Eli: Send Me Real Estate Topics/Questions For 2018

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Eli Tucker, Arlington-based Realtor and Rosslyn resident. Please submit your questions to him via email for response in future columns. Enjoy!

I am excited to bring you new real estate topics, statistics and stories in 2018 and would love to hear from you. This weekly column is based around great questions I receive from ARLnow readers so don’t hesitate to reach out with questions, topics or statistics you’d like to read about. Submit via:

Twitter @EliResidential
Facebook @EliResidential
Email [email protected]

I am currently working on a review of Arlington Real Estate in 2017 and a column on how the new tax plan will impact our market, so expect both of those later this month.

Happy New Year Arlington!

If you’d like a question answered in my weekly column, please send an email to [email protected]. To read any of my older posts, visit the blog section of my website at www.EliResidential.com. Call me directly at (703) 539-2529.

Eli Tucker is a licensed Realtor in Virginia, Washington DC, and Maryland with Real Living At Home, 2420 Wilson Blvd #101 Arlington, VA 22201, (202) 518-8781.

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Firefighters Remove Another Ring, This Time from a Woman’s Finger

Fresh off a rather delicate ring removal last week, the crew of ACFD’s Rescue 104 used their specialized tools to cut a ring from a woman’s finger yesterday morning.

Firefighters were called to the emergency room of Virginia Hospital Center on New Year’s Day for an elderly woman whose finger was swollen around her ring. Medical personnel were unable to slide it off, so Rescue 104 was called.

Firefighters used a grinding tool and shielding devices to remove the ring and save the woman’s finger without further injury, WTOP reported.

The Arlington County Fire Department tweeted a post-removal finger, which was approved for publication by the patient “for public awareness.”

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Morning Poll: 2018 Resolutions for Arlington

It’s a new year and, at the Arlington County Board’s annual organizational meeting tonight, Board members will set a new(-ish) direction for 2018.

The Board now has a new member — Erik Gutshall — who prevailed in the Democratic caucus and then the general election last year. He replaces long-time Board member Jay Fisette, who declined to run for another term, while Libby Garvey has become the longest-serving Board member.

With a new County Board and a new year of civic life to contemplate, we wanted to know what your New year’s resolutions are for Arlington.

We’ve taken a bunch of things we often hear from readers and put them the poll below. Select your top 3 from the list, and let us know in the comments if you have any others.

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Morning Notes

Frigid Weather Makes Firefighting More Difficult — The persistently cold weather may be responsible for a recent spike in structure fire calls. Meanwhile, the deep freeze is “taking [firefighters’] biggest weapon, water, and using it against them.” [WJLA]

Beyer Blasts Trump Tweet — Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.) tweeted the following this morning in response to a tweet from President Trump: “Trump opens 2018 with calls for prosecution of his political enemies… Every Member of Congress swore an oath to defend the Constitution. Protecting rule of law must not be partisan.” [Twitter]

Grassley Tweets About Local TV — Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) is not a fan of the History Channel’s dearth of shows about history. He tweeted the following over the weekend after apparently watching public television channel WHUT: “Just watched history on An American Experience abt Thomas Edison the inventor Thx Comcast on Arlington Va Channel 19 DO U GET MESSAGE HISTORY CHANNEL???” [Twitter]

Pacers Owner Keeps Marathon Streak Alive — Yorktown High School alum, Pace the Nation host and Pacers Running owner Chris Farley has kept his two-decade streak of running a sub-three-hour marathon every year alive. He did so by completing a hastily-organized but official 26.2 mile course around Hains Point in 2:52:53 on Friday. [Washington Post]

ACFD Reminding Residents to Close the Door — The Arlington County Fire Department is reminding residents to sleep with their bedroom doors closed and to close doors behind them in the event of a fire, to help prevent flames from spreading. [Twitter]

Last Call: Advertiser Thank Yous — The website you’re currently reading is 100% advertiser supported. If you think ARLnow is an important resource for the Arlington community, we would greatly appreciate if you could help us thank our advertisers by sending one of them a postcard through this online form.

Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf

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