Equality Virginia believes all Virginians should have the right to a workplace free from discrimination and committed to equality of opportunity without regard to sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.
What is the current status in Virginia?
In Virginia, there is no statewide law to protect people from discrimination on the basis of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and expression in the private or public workplace.
A person can legally be fired or refused employment by any employer in Virginia (large or small) on the basis of that person’s real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. This means that a person can be fired because someone thinks that they are gay or lesbian or because they are not masculine or feminine enough in dress or demeanor.
What work is being done?
The plan is build support from the ground up. The path to progress starts with you.
While we work to change the political atmosphere in the General Assembly in order to move legislation forward, we are also focusing our efforts on the ground in strategic localities to build support for inclusive workplace protections.
We have started the Equality Means Business program, in coalition with Equality North Carolina and South Carolina, to showcase businesses that know how vital LGBT employees are to their success in a modern economy, from top companies all the way to the barber down the street.
Inclusive non-discrimination policies make good business sense. 88% of the nation’s Fortune 500 companies have non-discrimination policies that include sexual orientation. More than half of these companies also include protections for gender identity. Eight of Virginia’s top ten employers include sexual orientation in their employment policies.
In two polls conducted by a respected bi-partisan polling team, Virginians, regardless of geography or political party, overwhelmingly support LGBT workplace rights. 87% of Virginians agree that gay and lesbian employees have a right to be protected from workplace discrimination. Moreover, 90% said gay and lesbian Virginians should have the right to work for the government.
Who has joined the campaign to end workplace discrimination?
- Local Leaders for Fairness
- Legislators Who Have Signed The Non-Discrimination Statement
- Localities Supporting Workplace Non-Discrimination
- Colleges and Universities With Inclusive Non-Discrimination Policies
How can I help?
We encourage community members and employees that feel comfortable enough to ask workplaces around them to support the Virginia LGBT community by joining Equality Means Business. We have made an easy guide for you explaining how to approach employers, so just click here. All the employer or business needs to do is have a non-discrimination statement that includes protections for their LGBT employees and pledge not to turn away customers or clients on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
With your help and the work we do with Virginia legislators, we continue to press forward to the day when LGBT Virginians will no longer face discrimination in the communities that they and their families continue to be a part of. Here are other ways you can help us in the movement towards equality in the workplace:
- Share your story. Help us make a record of the discrimination that is occurring in Virginia workplaces. Tell your experiences with workplace discrimination through Equality Virginia’s Tell It campaign.
- Download talking points in support of nondiscrimination in the workplace.
- Ask your local elected officials to sign a statement in support of nondiscrimination in the workplace. Download the statement.
- Ask your town or city council or your county board of supervisors to pass a resolution in favor of a statewide law prohibiting discrimination in the workplace. Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Download the resolution.
- Meet with your members of the Virginia legislature and ask them to sign the statement that they will not discriminate in their offices based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. Look up your delegate here. Download the statement.
- Write a letter to the editor in support of nondiscrimination in the workplace.
- Cities and Counties with Non-Discrimination Ordinances that Include Gender Identity, HRC
- Corporate Equality Index, HRC
- Employment Non-discrimination Laws by State, Movement Advancement Project
- Out at Work: A Toolkit for Workplace Equality, Lambda Legal
- National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
To connect with more local, state and national organizations, visit Resources.