Public employment; prohibits discrimination based on race, color, etc. (HB1964)

Introduced By

Del. Tom Rust (R-Herndon)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Public employment; nondiscrimination.  Prohibits discrimination in public 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 veteran. The bill contains technical amendments. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/11/2011Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/11 11103559D
01/11/2011Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/17/2011Assigned GL sub: #4 Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process
02/01/2011Subcommittee recommends incorporating (HB2046-Ebbin)
02/08/2011Left in General Laws


Equality Virginia, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

This bill bars discrimination against state and local employees based on sexual orientation and other protected categories. It does not prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. Equality Virginia only supports inclusive legislation that protects against both discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rick Sincere writes:

Will Equality Virginia be disappointed if this bill passes?

People of Faith for Equality in Virginia, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

Support (while continuing to work for Gender Identity and Expression, while it does not include these measures, it has a stronger chance of gaining some Republican support)

Rod I., tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

related to VB Legislative Agenda item

edward writes:

Data, and common sense, enlightens the need for this legislation:

A compilation of research shows

(a) consistent evidence of discrimination in the workplace; more than a dozen studies show, variously, that 15% to 43% of gay, bisexual and lesbian respondents experienced discrimination in the workplace, 8% to17% were fired or denied employment, 10% to 28% were denied a promotion or given negative performance evaluations, 7% to 41% were verbally/physically abused or had their workplace vandalized, and 10% to 19% reported receiving unequal pay or benefits.

(b) evidence of wage or income gaps between heterosexual and non-heterosexual workers; probabilistic studies using scientifically derived large national samples show that gay men earn 10%-32% less than otherwise similar heterosexual men.

(c ) evidence of sexual orientation discrimination in workplace settings, in seven of eight controlled experiments.

(from Bias in the Workplace: Consistent Evidence of Sexual
Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, M.V. Lee Badgett, et al, The Williams Institute, UCLA, June 2007 )

A population-adjusted study of complaints of workplace discrimination filed in states that have nondiscrimination protection for sexual orientation shows that sexual orientation nondiscrimination laws are used on a regular basis, and comparable to the frequencies
at which race and sex nondiscrimination laws are used.

This study specifically addresses, and refutes, the argument that ‘there are no claims’ of sexual orientation discrimination:

(a) On the national level, of those states with available data, the adjusted rate for both sex and sexual orientation complaint filings is 5 per 10,000 workers; the adjusted rate for race complaint filings is higher at 7 per 10,000.

(b)The adjusted rate for sexual orientation discrimination is higher than the adjusted rate for sex discrimination in eight of the seventeen states surveyed.

(c )The adjusted rate for sexual orientation discrimination is higher than the adjusted rate for race discrimination in three of the seventeen states surveyed.

( from Evidence of Employment Discrimination on the Basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity: Complaints Filed with State Enforcement Agencies 1999-2007, The Williams Institute, UCLA, November 2008).

2000 US Census data show that the more than 20,000 same-sex couples living in Virginia are similar to married couples – represented in every city and county of the Commonwealth - live throughout the State, are racially and ethnically diverse, have partners/spouses who depend upon one another financially, and actively participate across the public and private domains of Virginia’s; 20% of same-sex couples in Virginia are raising children, but these have fewer economic resources to
provide for their families than heterosexual households. Same-sex households have lower household incomes and lower rates of homeownership. The 2010 US Census data will report surprising increases in same-sex households – taxpayers, and voters - in Virginia.

There is a large peer-reviewed literature - in sociological studies, in medical and public health studies, in legal studies, and in other research - presenting evidence that there is persistent stigma, harmful bias, and unjust discrimination against lesbian and gay persons and their households. More specific research - such as highlighted above - help assess the dimensions, scope, and impacts of this stigma, bias, and discrimination. The literature also presents evidence that without existing protections persons enduring stigma are less likely to raise concerns, speak up, or make complaints about discrimination. Virginia does not have sexual orientation nondiscrimination protection.

Further, regarding published comments that 'if there were discrimination, there would be many complaints made at legislative hearings', as any person with common sense knows, scheduling an event during the work day, at an inconvenient location, with an unreliable schedule, and under intimidating conditions, predicts poor turnout.