Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 8. Urban County Executive Form of Government

§ 15.2-853. Commission on human rights; human rights ordinance.

A county may enact an ordinance prohibiting discrimination in housing, real estate transactions, employment, public accommodations, credit, and education on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, national origin, military status, age, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability. The board may enact an ordinance establishing a local commission on human rights that shall have the following powers and duties:

1. To promote policies to ensure that all persons be afforded equal opportunity;

2. To serve as an agency for receiving, investigating, holding hearings, processing, and assisting in the voluntary resolution of complaints regarding discriminatory practices occurring within the county;

3. With the approval of the county attorney, to seek, through appropriate enforcement authorities, prevention of or relief from a violation of any ordinance prohibiting discrimination; and

4. To exercise such other powers and duties as provided in this article. However, the commission shall have no power itself to issue subpoenas, award damages, or grant injunctive relief.

For the purposes of this article, unless the context requires otherwise:

"Military status" means status as (i) a member of the uniformed forces, as defined in 10 U.S.C. § 101(a)(5), of the United States or a reserve component thereof named under 10 U.S.C. § 10101, (ii) a veteran as defined in 38 U.S.C. § 101(2), or (iii) a dependent as defined in 50 U.S.C. § 3911(4) except that the support provided by the service member to the individual shall have been provided 180 days immediately preceding an alleged action that if proven true would constitute unlawful discrimination under this section instead of 180 days immediately preceding an application for relief under 50 U.S.C. Chapter 50.

"Person" means one or more individuals, labor unions, partnerships, corporations, associations, legal representatives, mutual companies, joint-stock companies, trusts, or unincorporated organizations.

"Religion" includes any outward expression of religious faith, including adherence to religious dressing and grooming practices and the carrying or display of religious items or symbols.

1986, c. 495, § 15.1-783.1; 1989, c. 355; 1997, cc. 404, 587; 2020, cc. 1137, 1140; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, cc. 477, 478; 2022, c. 799.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.