Virginia Religious Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Virginia Religious Discrimination: What you need to know

Private employers. The Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) prohibits employment practices that discriminate on the basis of religion (VA Code Sec. 2.2-3900 et seq.). A separate provision of the VHRA prohibits employers with more than 5 but fewer than 15 employees from discharging an employee on the basis of religion (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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Public employers. An Executive Order issued by the governor (EO No. 1 (2014)) prohibits employment discrimination in state government on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, political affiliation, or disability.
Federal law under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to reasonably accommodate the religious beliefs and practices of job applicants and employees, unless to do so would create an undue business hardship. Such accommodation may mean exploring and implementing alternative workplace practices that are compatible with the employee's religious beliefs, such as: flexible arrival and departure times; floating or optional holidays; flexible work breaks; use of lunch time in exchange for early departure; staggered work hours; and permitting an employee to make up time lost due to the observance of religious practices.
Generally, an employee has to give notice to trigger an employer’s obligation to discuss an accommodation; however, the employee need not ask for a specific accommodation based on religion where the employer has enough information about an employee's religious needs to ...

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