Workplace Protections

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.

Current Status

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.

General Assembly Updates:

SB 12 Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in public employment.

Prohibits discrimination in public employment on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, as defined in the bill. The bill also codifies for state and local government employment the current prohibitions on discrimination in employment on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran.

 Our Work

In collaboration with LGBT advocacy organizations in North Carolina (Equality NC) and South Carolina (SC Equality),  Equality Virginia has launched “Equality Means Business,” a coordinated, multistate campaign designed to showcase businesses that know how vital LGBT employees and customers are to their success in a modern economy.

EMB VA logoA majority of businesses know that hiring LGBT employees and opening their doors to LGBT clients and customers is not only the right thing to do, but is also good for business.

  • The Equality Means Business campaign recognizes those businesses that protect their LGBT employees from discrimination and have pledged to welcome LGBT customers and clients.
  • These businesses not only improves each state’s reputation as a welcoming place to live, work, and visit but also, improves the lives of the more than 500,000 LGBT people who call these states home.
  • Plus, Equality Means Business is also a tool for consumers to use if they want to ensure their patronage is supporting a business – or any place of public accommodation – that is welcoming to LGBT people.

Take Action

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:

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Resources