Virginia and federal law require employers to maintain a work environment that is free of harassment, discrimination, or retaliation because of age (40 and older), race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy (including childbirth, lactation, and related medical conditions), physical or mental disability, genetic information (including testing and characteristics), veteran status, uniformed servicemember status, and sexual orientation or gender identity. The District of Columbia protects a range of additional characteristics such as family, status, political affiliation, personal appearance, and others. These laws cover add actions relating to recruiting, hiring, placement, transfer, training, promotion, rates of pay, and other compensation, termination, and all other terms, conditions, and privileges of employment.
Federal law requires all employers with fifteen (15) or more employees to conduct a prompt and thorough investigation of all allegations of discrimination, harassment, or retaliation, or any violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity laws, or face potential civil liability. The law further prohibits retaliation against employees who provide information about, complain about, or assist in the investigation of any complaint of discrimination or violation of the Equal Employment Opportunity laws. Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia have various state laws and local ordinances which expand on these protections in some ways, and in others apply them to employers with less than 15 employees.