What new Virginia Human Rights Act means to you

Written by our employment lawyers in Virginia Beach

The passage of the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA) is something that every Virginia worker should know about. Beginning July 1, 2020, Virginia employees are getting additional legal protection.

For more than a decade, our employment lawyers in Virginia Beach have handled discrimination lawsuits for individuals throughout Hampton Roads, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, and Portsmouth.

Before the passage of the VHRA, any company that discriminated against its employees was exempt from a lawsuit under Virginia law if it had 15 or more employees. Any lawsuit against any of those employers would have to be filed in federal court. Federal court is much friendlier to defendants procedurally and many cases would be dismissed before ever getting to a jury.

The VHRA says that now any employer with more than 5 employees is subject to the state law, and a discrimination lawsuit can be brought in state court. For a number of reasons, a discrimination case is more likely to get to a jury in state court. Therefore, injured workers in Virginia Beach, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Portsmouth, and throughout Virginia are much more likely to have their day in court.

Furthermore, the state court action has no limit on damages. Federal discrimination lawsuits allow maximum damages of $300,000 – and that’s only for extremely large employers. The damages are capped at a much lower number for smaller employers. The VHRA has no maximum recovery – this means in theory that an employee who was discriminated against has no limit on an award from a judge or jury.

An employment lawyer can tell you where your lawsuit should be filed, the procedural steps that you need to take to protect yourself, and whether your case is one that should be pursued.

If you are searching for an experienced employment lawyer with proven results, please call us at (757) 432-2500 or use our online form below.

Employment lawyers in Virginia Beach serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and all of Hampton Roads.

Klein, Rowell & Shall, PLLC is a litigation-focused law firm in Virginia Beach serving Hampton Roads


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We understand the significant personal and often financial impact important legal decisions can have on you or your business. At Klein, Rowell & Shall, PLLC, we will give you an honest assessment and explore innovative strategies to protect your rights and achieve your goals.

When you work with us, you can have confidence that we will remain attentive and responsive to all of your needs.

Whether you need advice on a work injury, auto accident, important business contract, or representation in an employment dispute, please call us today at (757) 432-2500 to put a skilled lawyer on your side. You may also send us an inquiry using our online form.

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