Unfortunately, conflicts between employers and employees are common in Northern Virginia. Conflicts may arise due to a variety of different circumstances, some of which are less favorable than others. Discrimination in the workplace can have devastating effects on an employee’s mental and emotional health. Depending on the circumstances, discrimination in the workplace can be grounds for a lawsuit. Due to the intricacies of employment laws in Northern Virginia, individuals who suspect that they have been t he victim of discrimination should seek legal counsel.
Federal and State Employment Discrimination Laws
You probably already know something about the state and federal laws that protect workers from being discriminated against while in employment. However, if your workplace is located somewhere in Northern Virginia, you need to talk to a local employment lawyer. The attorney will inform you of the local ordinances that protect you and which might overlap and (in some cases) are broader than state and federal anti-discrimination statutes.
Three counties and one city in Northern Virginia have actually enacted unique local human rights ordinances, including:
- Prince William County
- Arlington County
- Fairfax County
- The City of Alexandria
Alexandria Human Rights Code
This code, which was passed in 1975, prohibits all forms of discrimination in social services, health, credit, public accommodation, housing, employment, and city and education contracts. To this end, you will be protected from discrimination on the basis of physical handicap, marital status, ancestry, national origin, religion, age, sex, color, and race.
The Code, in effect, created the AHRC (Alexandria Human Rights Commission) to administer its stipulations and provisions. Today, the Commission is empowered to mediate and receive complaints against unlawful discrimination, conduct hearing and research, negotiate settlements, and advise the Manager and the City Council on all human rights matters affecting the city.
Additionally, the Code was amended in 1998 and in 1991. Today, therefore, the code includes sexual orientation, families with children, and persons with disabilities as protected classes. The 1996 amendment also prohibits discriminatory practices within the field of commercial real estate. To better understand your options and to receive due protection of this Code, therefore, you might want to consider consulting with an Alexandria VA employment lawyer.
Arlington Human Rights Ordinance
In Arlington County, the Human Rights Ordinance protects workers from discrimination in the workplace on the basis of familial status, sexual orientation, disability, age, religion, sex, marital status, color, national origin, and race.
Today, the Human Rights Commission in Arlington receives, mediates and investigates complaints from individuals and classes who believe they have been discriminated against. What is more, it does this free of charge.
Typically, these investigations result in complaint resolution. However, where necessary, the Commission (with approval from the County Board) can seek the enforcement of its decisions in a court of law.
Fairfax Human Rights Ordinance
Fairfax County enacted their own Human Rights Ordinance back in 1974 for the purpose of workplace discrimination based on marital status, sex, disability, age, religion, color, national origin and race. Essentially, this ordinance created the Human Right Commission in Fairfax. Today, the commission is mandated to receive, investigate and arbitrate all complaints of workplace discrimination.
If you believe that you have experienced discrimination, talk to an Alexandria VA employment lawyer. Your lawyer will file the complaint for you at the Office of Human Rights & Equity Programs before the expiry of the limitations on the case (365 days).
After filing the complaint, the Commission will begin the investigation process. Both parties to the case will also be provided with an opportunity to mediate. After several other steps, the staff comprising the Commission will issue their determination. This means they will decide whether there is probable cause of the occurrence of discrimination.
In case your lawyer files the complaint at the HRC in Fairfax and the complaint is also covered by the federal Title VII (of the Civil Rights Act) of 1965 and any other discrimination statute at the federal level, your case will be cross – filed with the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission).
Prince William Human Rights Ordinance
Enacted in 1993, this ordinance bans all discriminatory practices based on disability, marital status, religion, national origin, sex, color, and race. The Ordinance also created the Human Rights Commission for the purpose of ensuring that all citizens were treated fairly, receive equal protection from the law, and had equal opportunity to participate in and enjoy the privileges, rights, and benefits of community rights.
The Commission is comprised of 9 members – all of whom are appointees of the Board of County Supervisors. Therefore, if you feel like you are the victim of employment discrimination, you need to file complaints with the Human Rights Commission in Prince William County by filling out the necessary intake questionnaire.
Contact the Brown Firm PLLC For More Information
The agencies we have mentioned above are not your only option for seeking legal redress for unlawful discrimination at the workplace. At the Brown Firm PLLC, we have experience protecting individuals and classes of individuals who, just like you, have been discriminated against. Call us today or message us online and talk to our experienced employment law attorneys. We offer initial consultations by phone or at our office to ensure that you understand your rights and legal options.