In this divorce case, the husband appealed the trial court’s decision to grant spousal support to the wife notwithstanding her adultery, based on the court’s finding that manifest injustice would otherwise result. The appellant and the appellee were married for 20 years and had two children. The appellant had a stable career in the trucking business and earned $250,000 per year and had assets totaling more than $6 million. The appellee was the primary caretaker for the children and worked part-time as a receptionist earning $10 an hour. She did not contest that she had an affair for at least five years during the marriage. The court noted, however, that the evidence “portrayed the appellant as a profane and verbally abusive man,” who frequented “strip joints and topless bars,” and frequently boasted and bragged about these experiences in lewd terms in front of the appellee and their children. He was also verbally abusive to his children. Several witnesses testified that “they had never once seen [him] show any affection or any kindness toward [his wife],” and that he “chronically complained” to the appellee and others about her “weight, appearance, housekeeping, and spending habits.” The trial court explained that Va. Code § 20-107.1(B)the law precludes an award of support to any spouse found guilty of adultery, subject to narrow exceptions, including when the trial court determines from “clear and convincing evidence, that denial of support and maintenance would constitute manifest injustice, based upon the respective degrees of fault during the marriage or relative economic circumstances of the parties. The question before the court was whether the trial court committed a reversible error in stating that the statutory standard for deciding if a denial of support and maintenance constitutes a manifest injustice involved considering “either” the respective degrees of fault during the marriage “or” the relative economic circumstances of the parties. In affirming the ruling of the trial court, the Court of Appeals held that the trial court erred, but also that it was a harmless error as it was supported by facts that satisfied the correct standard. The court determined that the proper standard for determining if a denial of spousal support would constitute a manifest injustice must consider “both” the comparative economic circumstances “and” the respective degrees of fault, i.e., the test was a conjunctive test rather than the disjunctive test used by the trial court. Nevertheless, the Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling under correct test. With respect to the relative degrees of fault, the Court of Appeals explained that adultery was not dispositive and that a reasonable factfinder could conclude that appellant’s severe and longstanding abusive conduct went beyond “mere incivility or petulance” and tipped the scales in appellee’s favor. Moreover, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s finding of “extreme disparities” in the relative economic situations of the parties. Consequently, the trial court erred in stating the standard for determining if a denial of spousal support would cause manifest injustice as requiring either economic disparities or fault instead of both factors, but the error was harmless as the factual findings addressed both factors under the appropriate standard.
The plaintiff, a mother, brought a petition for child support against the putative father. The two met during a trip to France and had a long-distance relationship for 18 months. After returning to Virginia from another visit to the defendant in France, the plaintiff learned she was pregnant. Because the defendant was her only sexual partner during the relevant time period, she informed the defendant that the child was his. The defendant said he would help in any way he could and called twice a week during the pregnancy. Their child was born in Alexandria, Virginia, and the defendant continued to call regularly during this time. When the child was seven months old, the defendant came to Virginia to meet and spend time with the child. Following this visit, the defendant’s contact with the plaintiff decreased and ultimately ceased. Several years later, the plaintiff learned of the defendant’s whereabouts and brought a petition for child support. The circuit court dismissed the petition for lack of personal jurisdiction. The question before the Virginia Court of Appeals was whether the defendant had fathered a child in Virginia pursuant to the long-arm statute that provided, in part, that a court may exercise personal jurisdiction over a person when it is shown that the person “conceived or fathered” a child in Virginia. The statute does not define the terms “conceived or fathered.” In finding no personal jurisdiction, the Court of Appeals affirmed the circuit court’s interpretation of the term “fathered” to mean “to beget or to procreate as father,” rejecting the plaintiff’s argument that the term encompassed “the acknowledgment of parentage” while in Virginia. Although the Court of Appeals acknowledged that the ordinary meaning of “fathered” includes “to make oneself the father…by acknowledgment,” the court concluded that if the state legislature had intended this broader meaning of the term, it “presumably would have included the word ‘mothered’ along with ‘conceived or fathered’ to encompass the non-custodial mother of a child living in [Virginia].” Therefore, per Virginia law, the child was not fathered in Virginia and the long-arm statute could not grant personal jurisdiction over the matter.
The appellant and the appellee were married for 21 years and had three children. After the birth of their first child, by mutual agreement of the parties, the appellee stopped working and became a homemaker and the children’s primary caregiver. In adjudicating couple’s separation agreement, the trial court ordered the appellant to pay the appellee spousal support in addition to child support pursuant to statutory guidelines. On appeal, the appellant raised several arguments including that the trial court failed to exclude child-related expenses that he already had to pay for through child support awarded to appellee and that the court erred in refusing to impute income to appellee even though she was voluntarily unemployed. With respect to the first argument, the court affirmed the trial court’s conclusion, explaining that expenses that are indivisible by nature or trivial in amount need not be segregated. Although “some of wife’s claimed expenses did indeed include expenses attributable to the children, such as Internet service fees, utilities, and food,” those expenses were properly included in the spousal support award because they were “indivisible by their very nature.” With respect to the trial court’s refusal to impute income to the appellee, the court explained that “the law does not require wife return to work immediately upon divorce to avoid judicial imputation of income merely because she has provable earning capacity at the time of the divorce.” Rather, any decision to impute income must be done “within a review of all the statutory factors concerning spousal support.” Under the circumstances, the court found the trial court’s refusal to impute income to the appellee to be supported by the facts, given that the appellant had been the sole monetary contributor for the entire duration of their marriage, the appellee had left her nursing career in order to be a full-time homemaker and caregiver for their children, and the family moved eight times over the course of the marriage in order to enable the appellant to pursue and advance his military career. Thus, the refusal to impute any income to her was not an error.
The plaintiff, the mother of 10-year-old girl, sued the defendant, the Tabernacle Baptist Church, alleging that her daughter had been repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted by an employee of the church. The plaintiff alleged that the church knew or should have known that its employee had recently been convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a young girl, was currently on probation for this offense, and that a condition of his probation was that he not be involved with children. In spite of this fact, the church hired the offending employee and entrusted him with duties that encouraged him to interact freely with children, gave him the keys to lock and unlock all of the church doors, and failed to supervise him. As a result, the plaintiff’s daughter was raped by the employee multiple times, on and off of church grounds. The trial court dismissed the action, concluding that, as a charitable organization, the church was immune from tort liability under the doctrine of charitable immunity. The Virginia Supreme Court reversed and remanded. The question before the court was whether the church, as a charitable institution, was immune from prosecution for torts under the charitable immunity doctrine. Answering in the negative, the Court cited cases in which Virginia courts held charitable hospitals liable for negligent hiring and concluded that there was no basis for distinguishing those cases from the case before it. Thus, the Court held that the church could be held liable for negligently hiring an employee.
The defendant sexually abused the plaintiff between 1969 and 1978 when she was 5-14 years old. The plaintiff turned 18, the age of majority in Virginia, in 1982. She first received information from her psychologist regarding the causal connection between the childhood sexual abuse and the severe emotional harm she manifested in March 1990, and she subsequently filed a lawsuit against defendant for the abuse in July 1991. However, the trial court dismissed the lawsuit as untimely. The issue before the Virginia Supreme Court was whether, upon the lapse of the time fixed in the statute of limitations and the tolling statute (the grace period before the statute of limitations begins), the defendant acquired a right protected by due process guarantees notwithstanding a recent statute by the legislature with provisions to: (a) retroactively apply a ten-year statute of limitations . . . in cases in which the statute of limitations had expired . . . and (b) to create a twelve-month period during which such cases could be filed regardless of when the cause of action accrued. In affirming the lower court’s ruling the Virginia Supreme Court reaffirmed its well-established principle that the legislature possesses the power to enact retrospective legislation only if the statute is not destructive of vested rights. Here, defendant’s statute of limitations defense was a vested right. Infant plaintiff suffered an injury in that "she experienced positive, physical or mental hurt" each time defendant committed a wrongful act against her "and her right of action accrued on that date." The last such act was committed in 1978. Because plaintiff was 14 years old at that time, the statute of limitations was tolled until she attained her majority in 1982. The two-year time limitation expired in 1984. At that time defendant right to a statute of limitations defense vested and could not be repealed by subsequent legislation. The court therefore affirmed the lower courts’ ruling that defendant had acquired a right protected by due process guarantees and plaintiff’s suit was untimely.
The plaintiff sued her former supervisor and former employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to her supervisor’s harassment, which consisted of sexist and belittling remarks over an extended period of time. The lower courts held that her claim was barred by the Virginia’s Workers Compensation Act, which supplies remedied for injuries by accident, arising out of and in, the course of the employment or occupational disease but excluded any other remedies for such injuries. The issue before the Court was whether a pattern of harassment constituted the type of injury for which a lawsuit had to be filed under the Workers Compensation Act only. In reversing the lower courts’ decision, the court overruled its prior decision in Haddon v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., 389 S.E.2d 712 (Va. 1990), which held that a pattern of sexual harassment constituted an “injury by accident” and thus could only be brought under the Workers’ Compensation Act. The Court reasoned that Haddon was irreconcilable with long-established precedent holding that a “gradually incurred” injury over an extended period of time did not constitute an “injury by accident” and was thus not covered by the Act’s exclusion of other remedies. The Court’s decision allowed for a tort cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on a pattern of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Two plaintiffs, A and B, sued their former employer for wrongful termination, one based on racial discrimination and the other based on gender discrimination. Plaintiff B alleged that her supervisor touched her sexually without her consent and, when she complained, he fired her. The lower courts dismissed the actions, concluding that, pursuant to the employment-at-will doctrine, the plaintiffs were at-will employees who could be terminated for any or no reason at all. The issue before the Court was whether workplace discrimination could constitute a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine and whether the availability of federal statutory remedies precluded state tort lawsuits. In reversing lower courts’ decision, the Court cited its precedents recognizing a public policy exception to the employment-at-will doctrine and concluded that it is “[w]ithout question” that it is the public policy of the Commonwealth of Virginia that individuals within the state are “entitled to pursue employment free of discrimination based on race or gender.” The Court rejected the employer’s argument that the availability of federal statutory remedies should preclude a state tort cause of action based on wrongful discharge, explaining that it is not uncommon for injuries resulting from the same set of operative facts to give rise to multiple remedies.
The plaintiff alleged that she was raped several times by a police officer who had been assigned to help her deal with her son’s behavioral issues. The plaintiff reported the rapes to municipal mental health and domestic abuse entities, and she alleged that these entities violated their statutory duty to report these incidents or take further action. Consequently, the plaintiff sued the Alexandria Police Department for intentional tort and negligent hiring. The issue before the Court was whether the sovereign immunity doctrine barred the plaintiff from suing municipal entities for both intentional torts and negligence in failing to act upon plaintiff’s reports and in hiring and retaining the offending officer. The Virginia Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of the action as barred by sovereign immunity, explaining that a municipality is immune from liability for negligence associated with the performance of “governmental” functions, which include maintaining a police force and the decision to retain a specific police officer. It declined to adopt an exception to sovereign immunity for the tort of negligent retention, as it had done in the context of charitable immunity. The Court observed that whether a municipality is liable for an employee’s intentional torts was an issue of first impression in Virginia, but the Court relied on Fourth Circuit precedent to conclude that sovereign immunity applies in this context. Finally, the Court held that the then-applicable statute requiring officials to make a report whenever they have “reason to suspect that an adult” has been “abused, neglected, or exploited” imposed a discretionary duty and not a ministerial duty upon the individuals subject to the reporting requirements and thus dismissed the claim. (i.e., ministerial duties make actions necessary when conditions for their performance arise while discretionary duties make actions optional, subject to the official’s judgment.)
The defendant appealed his convictions for rape and sodomy, arguing that there was insufficient evidence to convict him and that the victim was incapacitated due to voluntary intoxication. The victim suffered from bipolar disorder and substance abuse. She was found non-responsive and half-naked behind a convenience store with rape-related injuries. She had high amounts of cocaine and alcohol in her blood, but low amounts of her prescribed lithium. She stated that she had kissed the defendant but did not consent to sexual intercourse and had no recollection of intercourse with the defendant. The defendant claimed the intercourse was consensual. The issue before the Court was whether defendant could be convicted for rape because of the victim’s incapacity if such incapacity was not a permanent condition but a transitory condition such as voluntary intoxication. In affirming the conviction, the court explained that “[n]othing in the statutory definition itself limits the definition of ‘mental incapacity’ to a permanent condition,” but rather the statute defines incapacity to mean a condition existing “at the time of the offense” that “prevents the complaining witness from understanding the nature or consequences of the sexual act.” Accordingly, the Court held that “mental incapacity” could extend to a transitory circumstance such as intoxication because the nature and degree of the intoxication went beyond the stage of merely reduced inhibition and reached a point where the victim did not understand “the nature or consequences of the sexual act.” Consequently, the Court upheld the convictions.
The defendant was convicted of rape and sexual abuse of his minor daughter and appealed, challenging the trial court’s refusal to order the victim to undergo a mental health examination and the sufficiency of the evidence supporting his conviction. The defendant’s daughter, who was 11 years old, reported to her mother that defendant had sex with her on two occasions when she was seven and eight years old. In a motion to order a psychiatric examination of the child, defendant pointed to the child’s mental health history, which showed that she “had been diagnosed with psychological disorders and exhibited dysfunctional behavior.” The trial court denied the motion and the Virginia Court of Appeals affirmed the denial. The issue before the Court was whether the trial court erred in denying defendant’s motion to subject the plaintiff, a rape victim, to a psychiatric examination and whether the plaintiff’s testimony alone, without the requested mental examination, was sufficient to sustain defendant’s conviction. The Court affirmed the lower courts, finding that the trial process afforded “adequate safeguards to the accused to test the competency of the complaining witness without a court-ordered mental health examination of that witness.” Therefore, “a trial court has no authority to order a complaining witness in a rape case to undergo a psychiatric or psychological evaluation.” With respect to the sufficiency of the evidence, the court noted its precedents establishing that “the victim’s testimony alone, if not inherently incredible, is sufficient to support a conviction for rape,” and that because the child’s testimony was not inherently incredible, it was sufficient to sustain defendant’s conviction. The trial court did not err in denying defendant’s motion to subject plaintiff to a mental examination and the plaintiff’s testimony, by itself, was sufficient to support the conviction.
The plaintiff filed a petition for a protective order against the defendant, her ex-boyfriend. The two ended their relationship in 2007, but from 2009 to 2012, the defendant made repeated, unsuccessful attempts to re-establish contact with the plaintiff via e-mail and social media. In 2013, the defendant escalated his attempts, first driving to the plaintiff ’s parents’ home in Canton, Ohio, and approaching her father at 6:20 a.m. to find out where the plaintiff was currently living. The plaintiff’s father told the defendant not to contact the plaintiff anymore and then called 911. The plaintiff became afraid upon learning that the defendant had visited her parents’ home, asking her current boyfriend to stay with her because she was afraid to be home alone. The defendant began repeatedly calling and leaving voice messages for the plaintiff. Within a one-week period, he called her 40 times. On one occasion, the plaintiff ’s boyfriend answered the phone and told the defendant that he had the wrong number and not to call anymore. The defendant also attempted to contact the plaintiff at her work. Then, one day, after placing several calls between 2 and 3 A.M., the defendant showed up at the plaintiff ’s home at 7 A.M. with flowers, and the plaintiff ’s boyfriend called 911 and had him arrested. The issue before the Court was whether these acts satisfied the statutory requirements for a protective order which require an “[a]ct of violence, force, or threat.” The Court held that stalking satisfies the requirements for a protective order even in the absence of physical harm or threatened physical harm. The Court set forth three elements necessary to prove stalking: (1) “the defendant directed his or her conduct toward the victim on at least two occasions”; (2) “intended to cause fear or knew or should have known that his or her conduct would cause fear”; and (3) “the defendant’s conduct caused the victim ‘to experience reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury.’” The Court held that, in this case, these three factors were satisfied and explained, with respect to the third factor, that it was sufficient that the plaintiff said that she “was scared,” because “[a] victim need not specify what particular harm she fears to satisfy the third element of stalking.”
The plaintiff sued her former employer, alleging wrongful termination because she refused her supervisor’s request for unmarried sex in violation of a statute that proscribed fornication. The plaintiff alleged that her supervisor also made frequent lewd requests and comments when he was alone with her as well as suggestive gestures and inquiries concerning her romantic life. After plaintiff played secret recordings of these conversations to human resources she was terminated without explanation. The issue before the court was whether termination for refusing to engage in unmarried sex could be the basis of a public policy exception to the at-will employment doctrine. In rejecting the plaintiff’s claim, the court reasoned that a public policy argument cannot be based on an unconstitutional statute. Further, that a statute that sought to regulate private consensual sexual activity between adults was unconstitutional. Here, plaintiff could not base her claim on the statute that forbade unmarried sex because such a statute sought to regulate private consensual activity between adults and was therefore unconstitutional. This case is significant because the court reached this conclusion even though the conduct at issue was economically coercive and the same alleged facts could arguably have supported a wrongful discharge claim based on statutes concerning gender discrimination or “criminal acts” of “adultery and lewd and lascivious cohabitation,” statutes, which the court did not purport to overrule.
Sarah Crawford ended an abusive relationship with her husband but remained fearful of him and took various precautions to protect herself, including applying for an order of protection. She signed an affidavit for the order, in which she recounted instances of past abuse, including threats to her life. The following month, she was found murdered and evidence overwhelmingly pointed to her ex-husband. Before the trial, Crawford made a motion to suppress the affidavit, arguing that the document was testimonial hearsay. However, the trial court admitted the affidavit, holding that under the doctrine of “forfeiture by wrongdoing,” Crawford forfeited his right to confrontation with respect to statements by Sarah. The trial court agreed and a redacted version of the affidavit was admitted. A jury convicted Crawford of capital murder, abduction with intent to defile, rape, grand larceny, use of a firearm in the commission of a murder, and use of a firearm in the commission of abduction. Crawford appealed, arguing, inter alia, that admission of the affidavit violated his rights under the Confrontation Clause of the Sixth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The appellate court reversed every conviction except for the grand larceny conviction on grounds that Crawford’s Sixth Amendment rights were violated by the admission of the affidavit. The Virginia Supreme Court held that the admission of the affidavit of a victim in support of her application for a preliminary protective order against defendant was testimonial and therefore violated the defendant’s Sixth Amendment right of confrontation. It also held the trial court could not admit the affidavit under the “forfeiture by wrongdoing” doctrine because there was no evidence that the defendant killed the victim to prevent the victim from testifying. However, it found that the admission of the affidavit was harmless since the other evidence against Crawford was overwhelming.
Mitchem filed a motion for judgment against her former employer, Counts, alleging wrongful discharge in violation of the common law following her refusal to have a sexual relationship with him, as well as several instances of 13. She argued that her discharge violated Virginia’s policy “that all persons . . . are entitled to pursue and maintain employment free of discrimination based upon gender.” The trial court held that the amendments to the Virginia Human Rights Act “eliminated the VHRA as a source of public policy to support a common law cause of action for wrongful termination. The trial court also held that Code §§ 18.2-57, -344 and -345 do not articulate public policies that support a common law action for wrongful termination. The court dismissed Mitchem’s action with prejudice, and Mitchem appealed from this judgment. On appeal, Mitchem withdrew parts of her previous claim, arguing that she was discharged from employment due, not to gender but rather, to the fact that she would not consent to her employer’s demands that she violate sections of the Virginia code prohibiting fornication, lewd and lascivious cohabitation, and was discharged for failing to “consent to commission of a battery upon her person.” The court addressed whether Code §2.1-725(D) “bars a common law action for wrongful termination based on public policies not reflected in the VHRA, when the conduct alleged in the motion for judgment also violates a public policy reflected in the VHRA.” That section states, “Causes of action based upon the public policies reflected in this chapter shall be exclusively limited to those actions, procedures and remedies, if any, afforded by applicable federal or state civil rights statutes or local ordinances.” The court noted that the statute only abrogated common law causes of action for wrongful discharge based on public policies in the VHRA; common law causes of action for wrongful discharge based on public policies not in the VHRA are not prohibited by the section. The Court upheld the trial court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s wrongful discharge claim based on the public policy of “refusing to consent to commission of battery upon her person” – since if she had consented, there would have been no battery. However, it reversed the trial court’s holding as to wrongful termination based on public policy in Code §§ 18.2-344 and -345, which prohibit fornication, and lewd and lascivious behavior respectively.
A former employee brought an action against supervisor and employer for intentional infliction of emotional distress due to harassment. She alleged that her supervisor intentionally sought to humiliate her in front of her co-workers and made harassing, sexist, and belittling comments. Although she complained to her manager and other supervisors, they failed to intervene. The Defendant argued that her claims were barred by the exclusivity provision (Code § 65.2-307) of the Virginia Workers’ Compensation Act. The court held that her allegations of gradually incurring severe emotional distress due to harassment did not amount to “injury by accident” under the Workers’ Compensation Act; therefore the action against the employer was not barred by the exclusivity provision of the Act.
Under certain defined circumstances, Virginia law permits sterilization for children and adults incapable of informed consent. The procedures for children incapable of informed consent are outlined in Code of Virginia § 54.1-2975 and the procedures for adults are outlined in § 54.1-2976.
This Virginia law provides that a married woman shall have the right to acquire, hold, use, control and dispose of property as if she were unmarried.
This Virginia law defines rape as sexual intercourse with a complaining witness, or causing a complaining witness to engage in sexual intercourse with any other person, regardless of the existence of a spousal relationship and such act is accomplished (i) against the complaining witness's will, by force, threat or intimidation of or against the complaining witness or another person; or (ii) through the use of the complaining witness's mental incapacity or physical helplessness; or (iii) with a child under age 13 as the victim.
This section of the Virginia Code provides that a cause of action resulting from sexual abuse during incapacity or infancy accrues upon the later of (1) the removal of incapacity or infancy or (2) when facts of the injury and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is first communicated to the person by a licensed physician or psychologist.
This section of the Virginia Code provides that a cause of action resulting from sexual abuse during incapacity or infancy accrues upon the later of the removal of incapacity or infancy or when facts of the injury and its causal connection to the sexual abuse is first communicated to the person by a licensed physician or psychologist.
This Virginia law allows officers to make an arrest without a warrant in certain cases of assault and battery, or stalking, against a family or household member. Instead of a warrant, the arrest must be based on probable cause, the officer’s personal observations, the officer’s investigation, or a reasonable complaint from a witness.
Virginia law prohibits that any person, except law enforcement officers acting in the capacity of the official duties, and registered private investigators acting in the course of their legitimate business, who on more than one occasion engages in conduct with the intent to place, or when that person knows or reasonably should know that the conduct places another person in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to that other person or to that other person’s family or household member is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor. If the person contacts or follows or attempts to contact or follow the person after being given actual notice that the person does not want to be contacted or followed, such actions are a prima facie evidence that the person intended to place that other person, or reasonably should have known that the other person was placed, in reasonable fear of death, criminal sexual assault, or bodily injury to himself or a family or household member.
Under Virginia law, a victim has a civil cause of action against an individual who engaged in stalking conduct prohibited under Code of Virginia § 18.2-60.3, regardless of whether the individual has been charged or convicted for the alleged violation, for the compensatory damages incurred by the victim due to the conduct plus the costs for bringing the action. A victim may also be awarded punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages.
This Virginia law provides the judges of the juvenile and domestic relations district court jurisdiction over petitions filed by a juvenile seeking judicial authorization for a physician to perform an abortion if a minor elects not to seek permission from an authorized person. This statute further specifies that after a hearing, a judge can issue an order authorizing a physician to perform an abortion, without the consent of any authorized person, if the judge finds that (i) the minor is mature enough and well enough informed to make her abortion decision, in consultation with her physician, independent of the wishes of any authorized person, or (ii) the minor is not mature enough or well enough informed to make such decision, but the desired abortion would be in her best interest.
Under Virginia law, it is a Class 4 felony to cause destruction of a unborn child, abortion, or miscarriage through medical procedure, drugs, or other means. There is an exception for physicians who are licensed by the Board of Medicine to practice medicine and surgery, to terminate a pregnancy or assist in performing an abortion or causing a miscarriage during the first trimester of pregnancy, among other exceptions. Informed written consent is required for an abortion under Virginia law, subject to civil penalties. It is also a Class 3 misdemeanor to encourage an individual to have an abortion prohibited by Virginia law.
This Virginia law prohibits employers from discriminating between employees on the basis of sex by paying less wages to employees of a certain sex than employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions, except where such payment is made pursuant to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a differential based on any other factor other than sex.
Virginia’s Human Rights Act outlines the policy of the Commonwealth to “[s]afeguard all individuals within the Commonwealth from unlawful discrimination because of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability, in places of public accommodation,” including in education, real estate, and employment. The Act defines the “unlawful discriminatory practice” and “gender discrimination” as conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation governing discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability. The terms “because of sex or gender” or “on the basis of sex or gender” or similar terms in reference to discrimination in the Code and acts of the General Assembly include pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions. Women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all purposes as persons not so affected but similar in their abilities or disabilities.