Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment, definition of employer. (SB494)

Introduced By

Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) with support from co-patrons Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale), and Sen. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Virginia Human Rights Act; nondiscrimination in employment; definition of employer, statute of limitations, and provision of attorney fees. Amends the definition of "employer" to mean a person employing five or more employees, instead of 15 or more employees under current law, for each working day in each of 20 or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such person. The bill provides that a person claiming to be aggrieved by an unlawful discriminatory practice may file a written complaint with the Division of Human Rights within two years of the occurrence of the alleged unlawful discriminatory practice and that an aggrieved person who has been provided a notice of his right to file a civil action for such grievance may do so within one year of receiving such notice or within two years after the alleged discriminatory practice occurred, whichever is later. The bill also changes a court's award of reasonable attorney fees and costs to a successful plaintiff from discretionary to mandatory. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/11/2022Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/12/22 22102695D
01/11/2022Referred to Committee on General Laws and Technology
01/19/2022Impact statement from DPB (SB494)
01/19/2022Reported from General Laws and Technology (8-Y 7-N) (see vote tally)
01/21/2022Constitutional reading dispensed (37-Y 0-N) (see vote tally)
01/24/2022Read second time and engrossed
01/25/2022Passed by for the day
01/26/2022Passed by for the day
01/27/2022Read third time and passed Senate (21-Y 19-N) (see vote tally)
02/23/2022Placed on Calendar
02/23/2022Read first time
02/23/2022Referred to Committee on General Laws
02/23/2022Assigned GL sub: Subcommittee #1
02/24/2022Subcommittee recommends reporting (7-Y 1-N)
02/24/2022Subcommittee recommends referring to Committee on Commerce and Energy
03/01/2022Reported from General Laws (12-Y 10-N) (see vote tally)
03/01/2022Referred to Committee on Commerce and Energy
03/03/2022Failed to report (defeated) in Commerce and Energy (10-Y 12-N) (see vote tally)


ChangeServant, tracking this bill in Photosynthesis, notes:

SUPPORT this bill that includes all employers with 5 or more employees in the prohibitions against workplace discrimination. There are more than 130,000 businesses with 1-19 employees that employ more than 500,000 people (SBA data 2020) in Virginia all of which are currently allowed to discriminate without prohibition.

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