Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 51.5. Persons with Disabilities
Chapter 9. Rights of Persons with Disabilities
7/25/2021

§ 51.5-41. Discrimination against otherwise qualified persons with disabilities by employers prohibited.

A. No employer shall discriminate in employment or promotion practices against an otherwise qualified person with a disability solely because of such disability. For the purposes of this section, an "otherwise qualified person with a disability" means a person qualified to perform the essential functions of a job with or without reasonable accommodations.

B. It is the policy of the Commonwealth that persons with disabilities shall be employed in the state service, the service of the political subdivisions of the Commonwealth, in the public schools, and in all other employment supported in whole or in part by public funds on the same terms and conditions as other persons unless it is shown that the particular disability prevents the performance of the work involved.

C. An employer shall make reasonable accommodation to the known physical and mental impairments of an otherwise qualified person with a disability, if necessary to assist such person in performing a particular job, unless the employer can demonstrate that the accommodation would impose an undue burden on the employer. For the purposes of this section, "mental impairment" does not include active alcoholism or current drug addiction and does not include any mental impairment, disease, or defect that has been successfully asserted by an individual as a defense to any criminal charge.

1. In determining whether an accommodation would constitute an undue burden upon the employer, the following shall be considered:

a. Hardship on the conduct of the employer's business, considering the nature of the employer's operation, including composition and structure of the employer's work force;

b. Size of the facility where employment occurs;

c. The nature and cost of the accommodations needed, taking into account alternate sources of funding or technical assistance included under § 51.5-173;

d. The possibility that the same accommodations may be used by other prospective employees;

e. Safety and health considerations of the person with a disability, other employees, and the public.

2. The employer has the right to choose among equally effective accommodations.

3. Nothing in this section shall require accommodations when the authority to make such accommodations is precluded under the terms of a lease or otherwise prohibited by statute, ordinance, or other regulation.

4. Building modifications made for the purposes of such reasonable accommodation may be made without requiring the remainder of the existing building to comply with the requirements of the Uniform Statewide Building Code.

D. Nothing in this section shall prohibit an employer from refusing to hire or promote, from disciplining, transferring, or discharging or taking any other personnel action pertaining to an applicant or an employee who, because of his disability, is unable to adequately perform his duties, or cannot perform such duties in a manner which would not endanger his health or safety or the health or safety of others. Nothing in this section shall subject an employer to any legal liability resulting from the refusal to employ or promote or from the discharge, transfer, discipline of, or the taking of any other personnel action pertaining to a person with a disability who, because of his disability, is unable to adequately perform his duties, or cannot perform such duties in a manner that would not endanger his health or safety or the health or safety of others.

E. Nothing in this section shall be construed as altering the provisions of the Virginia Minimum Wage Act (§ 40.1-28.8 et seq.).

F. This section shall not apply to employers covered by the federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Code 1950, § 63.1-171.6; 1972, c. 156; 1985, c. 421, § 51.01-41; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2014, c. 616; 2016, c. 27; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 12.

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.