The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, or marital status (VA Code Sec. 2.2-3900 et seq.). The VHRA defines the terms "because of sex or gender" and "on the basis of sex or gender" to include pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. The VHRA requires employers to treat women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions the same as persons not so affected but similar in abilities or disabilities.
Private right of action against small employers. Employees who (1) worked for an employer with 6 to 14 employees and (2) allege discriminatory discharge on the basis of sex may file a civil lawsuit in the state (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3903). The VHRA prohibits these employers from discharging any employee on the basis of sex, pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions, including lactation. The VHRA defines "lactation" to include breastfeeding or expressing milk from the breast.
State contractors. Every contractor or subcontractor who holds a contract for over $10,000 with the state of Virginia is prohibited under state law from discriminating on the basis of sex (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-4310 et seq.).
Bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception. Where sex is a bona fide occupational qualification, employers are allowed to advertise and use employment application forms indicating a gender preference. However, these situations are rare, and employers should be very cautious in relying on this exception when making employment decisions.
The Virginia Equal Pay Act requires all employers to pay equal wages for equal work regardless of gender. Exceptions ...