The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of national origin (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3900). The Act covers employers with more than 5 but fewer than 15 employees.
Employers that are not covered by the Virginia Human Rights Act have been sued for wrongful discharge for violations of public policy unrelated to the Virginia Human Rights Act where the Act and federal antidiscrimination statutes have not been applicable (Rowan v. Tractor Supply Co., 559 S.E.2d 709 (Va. 2002)).
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ). Employment decisions based on national origin are unlawful, unless national origin is a BFOQ reasonably necessary to the normal operations of the contractor. This exception is very rare, and employers should be very cautious in relying on the BFOQ defense when making employment decisions.