Virginia Workplace Discrimination Laws

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Workplace discrimination is discrimination based on any protected category including sex, age, race, national origin, and disability. A working knowledge of Virginia workplace discrimination laws could help you understand which course of action to take next. A knowledgeable attorney could help you understand workplace discrimination laws and how they work.

Dealing with discrimination in your place of work can be very difficult and trying. Our determined workplace discrimination lawyer at the Spiggle Law firm may be able to assist in the best way possible to help protect your rights and your reputation.

Specific Laws and Statutes Regarding Workplace Discrimination

Several laws or statutes within federal business and employment address and govern workplace discrimination. The more commonly known acts are:

  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act
  • The Age Discrimination and Employment Act
  • The Equal Pay Act

State And Federal Statutes

The Genetic Information Non-Disclosure Act prohibits discrimination based on a family history of a medical condition. The Employment Retirement Income Securities Act prevents discrimination because of a pension or other healthcare benefits that the employer does not want to pay. The Fair Labor Standards Act protects wage discrimination and protects you from discrimination based on complaining about unfair pay practices.

State and federal whistleblower statutes make acts of discrimination or retaliation illegal when an employee raises awareness of a company’s wrongdoing. If you report the illegal actions, they could be covered under any number of whistleblower statutes.

Virginia Work Discrimination Laws

All the federal laws apply at the local level and are interpreted by local state courts and local federal courts. There can be variations from locality to locality based on how the courts interpret and apply federal law. There are also state-level laws in almost every state that disallow discrimination.

State or county-level ordinances may address workplace discrimination. Fairfax, Alexandria, and Arlington all have ordinances that make discrimination illegal within the county.

What is the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission?

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the primary federal agency that oversees discrimination in the workplace. The EEOC administers the enforcement of two substantial and primary anti-discrimination laws. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 bans the discrimination or harassment of a person because of their sex, race, or national origin.

The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination because of disability as defined by the act The EEOC has broad powers to enforce these two laws. In fact, before an individual can file their own lawsuit under either of those laws, they must go to the EEOC to file a charge. They fill out a two-page form with the agency describing the discrimination or harassment against them.

The Responsibility of The EEOC

The EEOC has the first chance to enforce the laws and often involves mediation to get both parties to the table to see if they can settle the issue. The agency also investigates claims and, in rare circumstances, litigates cases. The agency is the individual’s attorney on their behalf. While they have broad power, resources are limited and there are many charges.

Less than one percent of the charges filed with the agency under Title VII or under the ADA are litigated by the EEOC. For the vast majority of cases filed with the agency, the agency issues a Notice of Right to Sue which is needed before someone can file a lawsuit in state or federal court. The Department of Labor oversees the Family and Medical Leave Act which also has a discrimination aspect, but charges do not need to be filed first.

Employees Offered Special Protections Under Virginia Workplace Discrimination Laws

Any employee at a company with 15 or more employees is automatically covered by Title VII or the Americans with Disabilities Act. There is also the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, that protects people who are at the age of 40 or above. For the ADEA law to apply, the employer must have 20 or more employees.

Under the Virginia Human Rights Act, the number of employees is five or less. In Alexandria, four or fewer employees are covered by these laws and ordinances. They have some limitations in that they do not provide the same level of protection. The laws offer some protection, but not as much as federal law. Our confident attorneys at the Spiggle Law Firm could help by using our case calculator to determine what your case is worth and working to our best ability to get a solution.