Complaints filed with the Virginia Division of Human Rights (DHR) (formerly the Virginia Council on Human Rights) alleging unlawful discriminatory practice under a state statute that is enforced by a state agency will be referred to the enforcing agency. The DHR may investigate complaints made under a federal statute or regulation and attempt to resolve complaints through conciliation.
As part of the conciliation process, the DHR can issue recommendations for reinstatement or promotion and corresponding back pay, benefits, and attorney's fees. However, the Division cannot award monetary damages or injunctive relief (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3903(C)).
Unresolved complaints will be referred to the federal agency with jurisdiction over the complaint (e.g., the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)). After a complaint is referred, the DHR has no further jurisdiction over the complaint.
State law also provides that an employee working for an employer with more than 5 but fewer than 15 employees may bring an action in general district or circuit court alleging discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, or age if the employee is 40 years or older and is employed by an employer that has 6 to 19 employees (VA Stat. Sec. 2.2-3903(B)).