Last Monday, Virginia became the first state in the South to enact a state law prohibiting discrimination in employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The employment discrimination ban was part of a larger measure that extends similar anti-discrimination prohibitions to housing, public accommodations, and extension of credit. About one-half of U.S. states have similar laws in place.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently heard oral arguments on a trio of cases dealing with the question of whether LGBTQ discrimination is prohibited under federal law. Regardless of the outcome of those cases, Virginia employees have a state law cause of action for employment discrimination. Employees who believe their rights under the new law have been violated can file administrative charges with the Virginia Division of Human Rights.