Support SB701 To End Workplace Discrimination For State Employees

What’s Happening Now?

SB701 has moved out of committee and will be heard on the Senate floor the week of Jan. 21.

Ask your senator to vote YES on SB701

 

These Legislators Have Signed On As Patrons

Senate
Sen. Donald McEachin (Chief)
Sen. Adam Ebbin (Chief)
Sen. Kenneth C. Alexander
Sen. George L. Barker
Sen. R. Creigh Deeds
Sen. John S. Edwards
Sen. Barbara A. Favola
Sen. Mark. R. Herring
Sen. Janet D. Howell
Sen. Mamie E. Locke
Sen. David W. Marsden
Sen. Henry L. Marsh, III
Sen. John C. Miller
Sen. Ralph S. Northam
Sen. Phillip P. Puckett
Sen. Linda T. Puller
Sen. Richard L. Saslaw
House
Del. Mamye E. BaCote
Del. Robert Brink
Del. David L. Bulova
Del. Betsy B. Carr
Del. Rosalyn R. Dance
Del. Eileen Filler-Corn
Del. Daun Hester
Del. Charniele L. Herring
Del. Patrick A. Hope
Del. Mark L. Keam
Del. Kaye Kory
Del. K. Rob Krupicka
Del. Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr.
Del. Alfonso H. Lopez
Del. Jennifer L. McClellan
Del. Delores L. McQuinn
Del. Joseph D. Morrissey
Del. Kenneth R. Plum
Del. Thomas Davis Rust
Del. James M. Scott
Del. Mark D. Sickles
Del. Lionell Spruill, Sr.
Del. Scott A. Surovell
Del. David J. Toscano
Del. Rosyln C. Tyler
Del. Jeion A. Ward
Del. Onzlee Ware
Del. R. Lee Ware, Jr.
Del. Vivian E. Watts
Del. Joseph R. Yost

Organizations Joining The Coalition For SB701

ProgressVA, Virginia Organizing, Mothers & Others of Virginia, People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, AARP Virginia, Black Transmen Inc., Ladies of the Blue Ridge – Transgender Alliance, Roanoke Pride Inc., Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, LGBT Democrats of Virginia, ACLU of Virginia, Fairfax County NAACP.

To join the coalition, complete this form and return it to tdavis@equalityvirginia.org.

The Bill

“Nondiscrimination in state employment. Prohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. The bill expressly provides that “sexual orientation” shall not include any person’s attraction toward persons with whom sexual conduct would be illegal due to the age of the parties. The bill contains technical amendments.”

Download The Full Text Here

Frequently Asked Questions

Download our FAQs in a PDF here.
 

What is SB701? ►

A bill to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender state employees from discrimination in the workplace.  


 
Why only state employment? ►

While our ultimate goal is to have statewide protections for LGBT public and state employees, we believe that providing protections for LGBT state employees is a first step in reaching this goal. The current make-up of a majority of unfair members in the House of Delegates is making this a difficult task, which is why we are focusing our efforts on the ground in strategic localities to build broad support for inclusive workplace protections.

 
Can you really be fired for being gay? ►

Yes. There is no state or Federal statute that protects LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

 
Do other states have protections for LGBT people? ►

Yes.  16 states and the District of Columbia ban workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. 5 additional states ban such discrimination based only on sexual orientation.

 
Why doesn’t the bill cover private employees? ►

Unlike most other states, Virginia does not have a comprehensive state civil rights law that offers broad protection against discrimination by private employers for anyone. Consequently, it would be difficult to pass legislation offering private employees protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression without facing substantial opposition from the business community. In addition, most of Virginia’s major employers, unlike our public sector agencies, already have in place anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.  State legislation is needed to offer such protection to state and local employees.

 
Would the bill affect religious organizations or churches? ►

Absolutely not. The bill only covers state employment and would have no application to nor effect on churches or other religious organizations.

 
Does the bill cover Transgender people? ►

Yes.  Gender identity and expression is included as a protected category in our bill.

 
Once it is passed, how will it be implemented? ►

State employees will be able to use existing grievance mechanisms to file complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

 
When would the law take effect if the bill is passed? ►

The law would take effect on the 1st of July following the General Assembly session in which it was passed.

 

Talking Points for workplace non-discrimination in Virginia based on sexual orientation and gender identity

Discrimination is wrong. ►

It’s a fundamental American value that taxpaying individuals who work hard should not be discriminated against in the workplace because of who they are.

Strong public support. ►

Consistent polling shows that 90% of Virginians believe that gay men and lesbians should have the right to work for the government and that 87% of Virginians feel that gay men and lesbians should have protections against discrimination in all workplaces.[1]

Virginia’s leaders agree that non-discrimination is a good idea. ►

Fifty-seven members of the General Assembly have signed statements not to discriminate in their offices based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.  Similar statements have been made by Senator Mark Warner (D) and Senator-elect Tim Kaine (D) and thirty-seven local elected officials in Virginia.

Thirty-seven local elected officials have signed statements in support of legislation codifying the basic human right of all public employees to be free from discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

Non-Discrimination makes good business sense. ►

Private employers have long since recognized that non-discrimination protections allow them to recruit and retain the best and brightest employees.

  • 88% of Fortune 500 Companies have non-discrimination policies that include SO
  • 57% of Fortune 500 Companies have policies that also include GI/E
  • 80% of Virginia’s 25 largest private employers (20) have non-discrimination policies that include SO
  • 60% of Virginia’s 25 largest private employers (15) have policies that also include GI/E

Of the Virginia based companies (29) on the 2013 HRC Corporate Index:

  • 18 Virginia based companies have non-discrimination policies that include SO and GI/E
  • 9 Virginia based companies have non-discrimination policies that include SO only

 

Virginia is at a competitive disadvantage. ►

Most major private sector employers in Virginia and 16 other states, including neighboring Maryland, and the District of Columbia have workplace protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity. More than 163 counties and cities prohibit employment discrimination based on gender identity.[2] This means that Virginia’s state and local agencies, schools and colleges are limited in their ability to compete effectively to recruit and retain the best qualified employees to serve the tax payers.

You can be fired for being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. ►

There is no state or Federal statute that protects LGBT people from discrimination in the workplace based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Why a bill would not cover private employees. ►

Unlike most other states, Virginia does not have a comprehensive state civil rights law that offers broad protection against discrimination by private employers for anyone. Consequently, it would be difficult to pass legislation offering private employees protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression without facing substantial opposition from the business community. In addition, most of Virginia’s major employers, unlike our public sector agencies, already have in place anti-discrimination policies that cover sexual orientation and/or gender identity or expression.  State legislation is needed to offer such protection to public employees.

Religious organizations or churches would not be affected. ►

A bill will only cover public employment and would have no application to nor effect on churches or other religious organizations.

For More Information

Visit “Ending Workplace Discrimination” to download additional toolkits and find more ways to get involved.

 
 
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