The Virginia Human Rights Act prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on disability (VA Code Sec. 2.2-3900et seq.). The Virginians with Disabilities Act (VDA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate against qualified individuals with a disability (VA Code Sec. 51.5-41). The VDA covers all employers, regardless of size (Yates v. Volunteer Health Care Sys., 783 F. Supp. 1002 (W.D. Va. 1992)).
Qualified individual with a disability. A qualified individual with a disability is able to perform the essential functions of his or her job. The VDA prohibits employers from making employment decisions based on the disability.
Reasonable accommodation. The VDA also requires employers to make reasonable accommodations to allow employees with disabilities to continue performing their jobs, unless making such accommodations imposes an undue hardship or burden on the employer.
Undue business hardship is determined on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the size of the facility, the nature and composition of the workforce, the nature and cost of the accommodation, whether the individual with the disability will pose a health and safety threat, and the possibility that other prospective employees will be able to use the same accommodation. Under the VDA, it is a rebuttable presumption that an accommodation of $500 or more is an undue hardship for an employer with fewer than 50 employees.
The federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) also prohibits employment practices that discriminate based on disability and covers employers with 15 or more employees. The ADA provides broader coverage than the VDA. In addition, the ADA does not assume that an ...