Virginia Bans LGBTQ Workplace Discrimination

April 17, 2020

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a bill extending existing non-discrimination protections in employment to individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The law creates a cause of action over LGBTQ bias in employment scenarios under the Virginia Human Rights Act.   

“This legislation sends a strong, clear message—Virginia is a place where all people are welcome to live, work, visit, and raise a family,” said Governor Northam.  “We are building an inclusive Commonwealth where there is opportunity for everyone, and everyone is treated fairly.  No longer will LGBTQ Virginians have to fear being fired, evicted, or denied service in public places because of who they are.”

Virginia is the 21st state to extend non-discrimination protections to LGBTQ individuals.  

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court is considering a trio of cases that could dramatically expand the scope of workplace discrimination laws by extending Title VII protections to gay and transgender individuals.  A decision is expected in June. 

Outlook:  Issues such as LGBTQ rights may be more impacted by the crisis than it would appear at first glance.  Bill sponsor State Sen. Adam Ebbin said in a statement, “Sadly, during times of crisis like these, discrimination rises, and its effects become more apparent.”  Looking ahead, there will certainly be more to come.