State government employment; nondiscrimination. (SB701)

Introduced By

Sen. Don McEachin (D-Richmond) with support from co-patron Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

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. Amends § 2.2-3004, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

  • 10/25/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100446D
  • 10/25/2012 Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
  • 01/18/2013 Impact statement from DPB (SB701)
  • 01/21/2013 Reported from General Laws and Technology with amendments (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/23/2013 Constitutional reading dispensed (40-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
  • 01/24/2013 Read second time
  • 01/24/2013 Reading of amendments waived
  • 01/24/2013 Committee amendments agreed to
  • 01/24/2013 Reading of amendment waived
  • 01/24/2013 Amendment by Senator McEachin agreed to
  • 01/24/2013 Engrossed by Senate as amended SB701E
  • 01/24/2013 Printed as engrossed 13100446D-E
  • 01/24/2013 Impact statement from DPB (SB701E)
  • 01/25/2013 Read third time and passed Senate (24-Y 16-N) (see vote tally)
  • 02/02/2013 Placed on Calendar
  • 02/02/2013 Read first time
  • 02/02/2013 Referred to Committee on General Laws
  • 02/06/2013 Assigned GL sub: #4 Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process
  • 02/12/2013 Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
  • 02/18/2013 Left in General Laws

Comments

S Stanley writes:

Needs Ending "The use of Discrimination Claims shall be prohibited as a legal claim for termination by the Commonwealth of Virginia for legitimate grounds to include but not be limited to; refusal or causing a refusal to perform tasks and duties as assigned; failure to adequately fullfill the requirements of the position as required; and causing the disruption or a work stoppage of other employees; or other violation of law or policy. The determination by a court that such claim was made for personal gain in light of employement termination shall constitute a class 5 Felony and punished as such."

Also, needs to add "Claims for discrimination shall include a reversal of such as defined herein, whereas the parties considered a majority within society when such evidence is presented that the situation has created a position whereas they are a minority in the acts claimed due to the allowance of hiring practices, supervisory appointments, or groupings and the acts of the individual responsible have giving a clear and evincing indication of reversed bias or judgement."

ACLU-VA LGBT Rights, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Virginia ACLU strongly supports passage of this bill that would protect all state employees from discrimination at work based on age, disability, religion, gender, race, ethnicity, marital status and sexual orientation and gender identity.

Equality Virginia writes:

Equality Virginia supports the passage of this bill that would include protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees from discrimination. Employment and advancement should be solely dependent on job performance.

April J., tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Add your comments about this bill here—they’ll be listed on your public portfolio and on the bill’s page. Should this pass or fail? Why?

rural virginia resident writes:

To:
Members, Senate General Laws and Technology Committee
Respectfully,

Virginians implore the Committee, and the full Senate, to affirm SB701 State government employment; nondiscrimination.

SB701 affirms sound public policy and the will of Virginians that irrational and unjust prejudice against employees and their families, and that discrimination because of status unrelated to work performance, is wrong. Achieving a stellar place for the Commonwealth - as a 21st century, world class, place to live and work, to retire, to attend school, college, and university, to locate research enterprises, and to bring leading-edge employment - requires elimination of prejudice from its laws, policies, and governance, and requires equity and nondiscrimination as a business practice (as it is with Fortune 500 and other leading edge businesses, corporations, and enterprises).

SB701 adds several categories for protection against workplace discrimination: "discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, political affiliation, age, disability, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, marital status, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran ..."

After the longest wars in US history - with tens of thousands maimed permanently, and many tens of thousands returning home from service - it is shocking that the Committee, the Senate, or the General Assembly would not protect all veterans fully from discrimination. With traditions of respect for 'family values' it is shocking that the Committee, the Senate, or the General Assembly would not protect against discrimination because of situations of family life: pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, marital status and sexual orientation.

Contrary to ill-informed, and perhaps maliciously deceptive, opinion discrimination because of sexual orientation occurs in Virginia, and sexual orientation discrimination (and gender identity discrimination) harms Virginia families. Protecting against 'sexual orientation' discrimination is about family life.

One ill-informed advocate - The Virginia Family Foundation - has stated:
"Elevating sexual orientation to a protected class, despite the fact that homosexuality is not immutable, would create an entirely new level of protection – protection based on one’s sexual behavior."

This statement is ill-informed: protection of the status 'sexual orientation' is not about 'sexual behavior'. SB701 does not protect 'sexual behavior'. The phrase 'sexual behavior' is not included in the language of the Bill. Stating that 'sexual behavior' is in the Bill is a falsehood, calling into the question the veracity and trustworthiness of The Family Foundation. This statement is ill-informed: 'immutability' is not a necessary condition for protection, OBVIOUSLY, since many currently protected statuses are obviously mutable: 'religion' is mutable, 'political affiliation' is mutable, and even disability is mutable (disability may be cured in some cases, thankfully!). Stating that only 'immutable' statuses may be protected confounds reason calling into question the logical foundations of The Family Foundation's argument, while raising concerns not only of veracity, but also the morality of that organization.*

Yet, some falsely state that no discrimination occurs because of sexual orientation.

May I share direct evidence that such statements are false.

For example:
when my partner of decades became unemployed, I asked my employer - the University of Virginia, School of Medicine - to add my partner to my health insurance coverage. The request was refused. I was told that because of
Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia I must be treated differently from other employees of the University. My family has been harmed because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One**).

For example:
when the Commonwealth's vendor of long term care insurance offered a special invitation - without usual underwriting - to enroll employee's family members for insurance, I requested to enroll my parents: my mother and father, and my partner's family - two of whom are veterans of WW2, and all of whom are frail elderly Virginians - the request was refused (despite the fact that the vendor's - Genworth - website for enrollment specially named 'spouses/partners' in a search field for exploring coverage of family and family members). I was told that because of Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia my frail elderly parents and WW2 veterans must be harmed. My family has been harmed because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One**).

For example:
when the University of Virginia conducted a study of its academic (2011) employees,
employees stated (verbatim):

“University health benefits are extremely discriminatory against the LGBT community … lack of partner benefits and ‘blanket’ exclusions for all transsexual care”

“I get last choice in selecting leave … University does not offer domestic partner benefits … UVA [should be] more proactive to support its LGBT employees … looking elsewhere for employment”

“I have worked in the same unit, in the same position, for more than 12 years, with no advancement … achieved an advanced degree and achieved a professional specialty credential, … my pay remains barely at 40K”

“LGBT employees appear to be treated as annoyances when they ask for even the most basic level of concern. They are not even treated with the usual respect that is due to employees”

“I have personally felt silenced by and alienated from the conservative culture of the University”

“I have personally observed intolerance of sexual orientation [and other issues ] from people in supervisory roles”

“There are no University statements that protect transgender employees”

“University can be considerably more vocal about its support … and can work out ‘Plus One’ policies like with the gym. Please do more. Discrimination is so pervasive that it will only be repaired with a grassroots movement.”

“I have seen cases of issues of sexual orientation discrimination [and other issues ] handled very badly”

“Your survey should ask about sexual orientation … You should care whether gay people feel comfortable at UVa"

These many comments about many experiences at the University of Virginia - and likely across many Commonwealth's agencies - adduce that Section 15-A of Article I of the Constitution of Virginia and/or its interpretation is harming many Virginians: men, women, infants and children, retirees, frail elderly, veterans, etc. because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One**). because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One*).

- because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One*).

- because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One*). because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One*). because of prejudice and discrimination that has no rational basis (contrary to Governor McDonnell's Executive Directive One*).

Clearly, the Governor's Executive Directive is insufficient, and Virginia law must protect against irrational prejudice and discrimination in employment. Please affirm SB701 for a 21st century, world-class Commonwealth of Virginia.

Respectfully,

* *
see at
www.dhrm.virginia.gov/documents/ExecutiveDirectiveOne.pdf

... Employment discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated by this
Administration. The Virginia Human Rights Act recognizes the unlawfulness
of conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation
governing discrimination against certain enumerated classes of persons. The
Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits
discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons.
Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental
status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in
the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of
persons without a rational basis is prohibited. " [ emphasis added ]

* For example, in the Hebrew and Christian scriptures it is considered moral offense against God's moral covenant with humanity to 'bear false testimony' that seeks to harm others; and the Hebrew scriptures state the 'just punishment' for violation of the covenant: "then you shall bring out to your gates that man or woman who has committed that wicked thing, and shall stone to death that man or woman with stones." ( Deuteronomy 17) .