Virginia Gender Discrimination Laws

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To prevent employers from discriminating against employees based on their gender or sex, there are Virginia gender discrimination laws to protect workers. These laws make it illegal for an employer to discriminate due to the person’s gender. For example, an employer cannot refuse to give a woman a promotion simply because she is a woman. If you believe you have been subject to gender discrimination, speak with one of our seasoned gender discrimination lawyers at Spiggle Law Firm today.

Issues in Gender Discrimination Cases

One of the issues with gender discrimination laws in Virginia is that they do not always offer as many protections as other states do.

Another issue is that in Virginia, an employer with less than 15 employees is not covered by federal law. The Virginia Human Rights Act applies to smaller companies. County ordinances may also apply to small companies, but they tend to have less power. In terms of sexual harassment and sex-based discrimination, there is a difference in Virginia and whether an employer has less than 15 employees. There is no state-wide law that mirrors Title VII, sexual harassment. There is also no state-wide law that makes it illegal for someone to be harassed based on their sex. That means an individual must bring a Bowman claim based on unwanted touching.

In a situation of sexual harassment with unwanted touching, someone can bring a Bowman claim in state court, which tends to be powerful. Cases of sexual harassment that are not based on touching are more difficult to bring in Virginia.

Discrimination Based on Gender Identities or Sexual Orientation

It is unclear whether Virginia gender discrimination laws cover discrimination against an individual’s gender identity. Some courts do not cover discrimination against an individual because of gender identities in Virginia. However, some federal courts have found that treating someone differently because they are trans, lesbian, or gay is a form of sex-based discrimination under Title VII.

In Virginia, it depends on the judge assigned to the case as to whether they allow a discrimination based on gender identity case to go forward. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) takes the position that discrimination against an individual because of gender identity is covered by Title VII. A person can file a claim with the EEOC in Virginia and they will not turn the person away because they are trans or due to their sexual orientation. What happens in the courts of Virginia depends on the federal judge assigned to the case and how they interpret that law.

Equal Pay Act of 1963

The Equal Pay Act is a statute that prevents a pay differential based on sex. Unlike other Virginia gender discrimination laws, it is a statute that is federal in its scope. It applies to both men and women, although women are usually the ones who are paid less based on gender. The practice of paying a woman less simply because they are a woman is illegal under the Fair Labor Standards Act and is enforced by the EEOC.

Unlike other laws that are enforced by the EEOC, someone does not have to file a charge with the EEOC first to bring the case to court. It is an option under the EPA but is not required. Someone suing under the EPA must show they were paid less because they are a man or a woman. However, an employer may say there are other reasons that explain the pay differential such as the person’s educational or experience level.

Filing a Virginia Gender Discrimination Case Under the EPA

If you are suing under the EPA, you must show that the pay differential involves someone of a different sex, with similar training and a similar background who is performing a similar job for more pay in order to bring a claim. The judge can look at the resumes of the people in the same job, see their experience, and review their W2 forms to determine what they are paid.

If you have any questions about Virginia gender discrimination laws, call one of our lawyers at Spiggle Law Firm. To find out how much your case may be worth, click here to check out our Case Assessment Calculator.