August 2022

State Updates

 

Virginia expands nondiscrimination law

06/03/21

Author: ADP Admin/Tuesday, June 1, 2021/Categories: Compliance Corner , State Compliance Update, Virginia

Virginia has enacted three pieces of legislation that expand and amend the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA). These laws take effect on July 1, 2021.

Background:

Currently, the VHRA provides employment protections based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, sex, age, disability, marital status, and pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation. The law generally applies to employers with 15 or more employees.

House Bill 2161:

House Bill 2161 expands the state's nondiscrimination protections to prohibit discrimination on the basis of an individual's military status. Military status refers to members of the uniformed forces of the United States or a reserve unit, a veteran, or a dependent, including spouses.

House Bill 1848:

House Bill 1848 amends the VHRA by prohibiting employers with more than five employees from discriminating against an applicant or employee on the basis of a disability (previously only employers with 15 or more employees were covered). Additionally, employers are required to make reasonable accommodations if necessary to assist an otherwise qualified person with a disability in performing a particular job, unless it would impose an undue hardship on the business.

Prohibited Actions:

Employers are prohibited from taking adverse action against an applicant or employee for requesting or using a reasonable accommodation. They're also prohibited from:

  • Requiring an employee to take leave if another reasonable accommodation is feasible;
  • Denying an employee or applicant employment or promotion opportunities because the employer would be required to make reasonable accommodation; and
  • Failing to engage in a timely, good-faith interactive process with an employee to determine if the requested accommodation is reasonable and, if it's not reasonable, discuss alternative accommodations that may be provided.

Notice Requirements:

Employers must post and include in any employee handbook information explaining employees' rights to reasonable accommodation for disabilities. The information must also be provided to new hires and within 10 days of such employees notifying the employer that they have a disability.

House Bill 1864:

House Bill 1864 also expands the VHRA's definition of employer to include a person who employs one or more domestic workers.

A domestic worker is a person who is compensated directly or indirectly for services of a household nature performed in or about a private home. This includes companions, babysitters, janitors, nannies, nurses, waiters, butlers, valets, handymen, maids, housekeepers, laundresses, caretakers, cooks, gardeners, home health aides, personal care aides, and chauffeurs of automobiles for family use.

However, it excludes the following:

  • A family member, friend, and neighbor or parent of a child who provides childcare in the child's home;
  • A child day program or a child day program employee; or
  • An employee who is employed on a casual basis in domestic service employment to provide companionship services for people who, due to age or infirmity, are unable to care for themselves.

Compliance Recommendations:

Employers in Virginia should review their policies and procedures to ensure compliance with House Bills 2161, 1864, and 1848 by July 1, 2021.

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Tags: 06/03/21

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