In addition, all state government employees and school board employees will also be protected against such adverse employment actions, even if the agency they work for has fewer than six employees.
Discrimination by employment agencies, unions, and apprenticeship programs is also prohibited.
What workers are not covered by this law?
Gig workers and independent contractors (who are not considered employees) of a company are not covered by the Virginia Values Act. Temporary employees are protected, however, since they are legally employees.
Can employers discriminate based on hairstyle?
A separate law, the CROWN (Create a Respectful and Open Workplace for Natural Hair) Act, also passed in the 2020 General Assembly session, bans discrimination based on hairstyles historically associated with race, including hair texture, hair type, and protective styles such as braids, locks, and twists.
Why are public accommodations protections important?
Protections in public spaces are critical to ensure that LGBTQ people are able to participate fully in their communities and, most importantly, go about their daily lives without the harms or fear of discrimination.
The Virginia Values Act defines a place of public accommodation as “all places or businesses offering or holding out to the general public goods, services, privileges, facilities, advantages or accommodations.” This includes restaurants, shops, doctors’ offices, clinics, hospitals, educational institutions, banks, insurance companies, transportation services, shelters, food banks, child and elder care centers, funeral parlors, hair salons, gas stations, entertainment venues, on-line businesses, and government buildings.
Of course, these places can always not serve you if you are disruptive or do not follow basic guidelines like wearing a shirt and shoes.
Do these protections extend to schools?
Yes, public schools are open to the public so all students should be protected from discrimination. Private schools that are open to the public, where anyone can apply, are also covered. Private schools limiting enrollment to people of their own faith are not subject to the law to the same degree. Schools can have reasonable restrictions on conduct but those must apply across the board and cannot single out or target students based on their identity.
What spaces are not covered under the Virginia Values Act?