Virginia ( VA ) Employment Discrimination Law in the Workplace

As I trudge through the various states’ employment discrimination laws in the workplace, I have found a wide variety of laws. Some states broaden the scope of federal statutes enough that it boggles the mind while others give employees no more protection than that of the federal employment discrimination in the workplace. Virginia falls in between the two extremes.

Virginia’s employment discrimination laws in the workplace make it illegal to discriminate on the basis of age, ancestry, association with disabled individuals, childbirth or related medical conditions, color, disability (physical or mental), marital status, national origin, pregnancy, race, religion, or sex.

Smaller businesses are also held accountable under Virginia’s employment discrimination laws in the workplace. This includes businesses with six or more employees.

Claims in Virginia can be filed with one of two agencies: the state agency, the Virginia Council on Human Rights (VCHR), or the federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). These agencies will work together to resolve you claim as long as you file in one agency and request that your claim be cross-filed with the other. The VCHR can be contacted at (804) 225-2292 and the EEOC can be contacted at one of three offices:

  • Norfolk
    Phone: 757-441-3470
    TTY: 757-441-3578
  • Richmond
    Phone: 804-278-4651
    TTY: 804-278-4654
  • Washington D.C.
    Phone: 202-275-7377
    TTY: 202-275-7518

Claims through the VCHR must be filed within 180 days of the date of the discriminatory act while you have 300 days of this act to file with the EEOC. Because of the difference in deadlines it is best to first file through the VCHR and then have them cross-file your claim with the EEOC. File early to avoid delays due to legalities in the filing process as these delays can push your past the deadline. Retaining an attorney is a big help, but is not required.

If your claim is not resolved by these agencies, you may need to pursue it in court. In both state and federal cases, you must first file with the appropriate agency and receive a release from that agency. The EEOC will release your claim by giving you one of two documents: “Dismissal and Notice of Rights,” or “Right to Sue.” A claim filed in federal court must be filed within 90 days of receiving either of the above documents. Lawsuits filed in Virginia’s state court system have a 180 day time limit from the date that the discriminatory act occurred.

None of Virginia’s employment discrimination in the workplace laws really stand out when compared to those of other states, but this state still provides a wider range of coverage than the federal government does. That, combined with the state-supported agency to investigate and resolve claims gives acceptable protection for employees.

Bookmark the permalink