Virginia Civil Rights laws & HR compliance analysis

Virginia Civil Rights: What you need to know

Private employers. The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age (over 40 years), marital status, or disability (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3900 et seq.).
Employers with more than 5 but fewer than 15 employees are prohibited from discharging an employee on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions (including lactation), or age (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3903). The provision allows a former employee to bring a civil action in a general district or circuit court but applies only when there has been a discharge from employment.
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Retaliation claims. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employee alleging retaliation for filing a previous discrimination charge does not have to exhaust administrative remedies (i.e., file a separate retaliation charge with an administrative agency) before bringing a civil action alleging retaliation (Jones v. Calvert Group, Ltd., 551 F.3d 297 (4th Cir. 2009)). In this case, the employee filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) alleging her employer violated Title VII by giving her a negative performance review in retaliation for previous discrimination charges she had filed. She was subsequently fired, and she brought a lawsuit alleging that her employer fired her because of the retaliation charge. The employer argued that the employee could not bring the lawsuit because she did not file a new EEOC charge alleging that the firing was retaliatory. In ruling for the employee, the court reasoned that a retaliation claim may be ...

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