While most laws affecting employment are federal, states can and have passed their own laws which may effect your rights or obligations.

Commonwealth of Virginia

Virginia Human Rights Act-prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability.

Applies to employers who may not be covered by Federal Laws because the minimum number of employees which triggers coverage is different. The remedies permitted in court action is also different from those available under the federal laws.

Virginians with Disabilities Act-prohibits discrimination against qualified persons with physical or mental impairments

Remedies available under this Act are different from the federal ADA, and the Act is the exclusive state remedy for discrimination based upon disability.

District of Columbia

District of Columbia Human Rights Act-prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, source of income, disability, sexual orientation, marital status, personal appearance, matriculation, family responsibilities, political affiliation, familial status, place of residence or business. D.C. has one of the most expansive anti-Discrimination Laws in the United States.

A “partially discriminatory” reason is as unlawful as a fully discriminatory one. Employers and individual supervisors can be held liable for discriminatory acts of its employees.

Individual Employee Rights

  • Employers may not use lie detector tests
  • Employers are required to have and to post a smoking policy
  • Employees cannot be discriminated against because of the exercise of jury duty
  • Employers cannot require a prospective employee to provide a record of arrests and convictions at the employee’s expense, and cannot acquire information that is more than ten years old
  • Employers cannot require that employees support or contribute to any political party or candidate
  • Employers cannot require “English only”
  • Dress and appearance requirements must be uniform and have legitimate business purpose
  • Employers must provide seating for all employees
  • Employees have the right to access their personnel files
  • Parents are entitled to 24 hours of leave during any twelve-month period to attend school functions with their children

State of Maryland

Maryland Fair Employment Practices Act

  • Similar to Federal Laws, but adds pregnancy and marital status to the list of protected classes.
  • Lower number of employees to trigger coverage than federal laws
  • Individual supervisors may have liability for discriminatory acts
  • Small employers are not covered by this act, however, employees can seek direct court action since the act does not provide them an administrative remedy
  • limits damages awards, i.e. no punitive damages