A. Nothing in this chapter or in Article 4 (§ 2.2-520 et seq.) of Chapter 5 creates, nor shall it be construed to create, an independent or private cause of action to enforce its provisions, except as specifically provided in subsections B and C.
B. No employer employing more than five but less than 15 persons shall discharge any such employee on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, including lactation. No employer employing more than five but less than 20 persons shall discharge any such employee on the basis of age if the employee is 40 years of age or older. For the purposes of this section, “lactation” means a condition that may result in the feeding of a child directly from the breast or the expressing of milk from the breast.
C. The employee may bring an action in a general district or circuit court having jurisdiction over the employer who allegedly discharged the employee in violation of this section. Any such action shall be brought within 300 days from the date of the discharge or, if the employee has filed a complaint with the Division of Human Rights of the Department of Law or a local human rights or human relations agency or commission within 300 days of the discharge, such action shall be brought within 90 days from the date that the Division or a local human rights or human relations agency or commission has rendered a final disposition on the complaint. The court may award up to 12 months’ back pay with interest at the judgment rate as provided in § 6.2-302. However, if the court finds that either party engaged in tactics to delay resolution of the complaint, it may (i) diminish the award or (ii) award back pay to the date of judgment without regard to the 12-month limitation.In any case where the employee prevails, the court shall award attorney fees from the amount recovered, not to exceed 25 percent of the back pay awarded. The court shall not award other damages, compensatory or punitive, nor shall it order reinstatement of the employee.
D. 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. Nothing in this section or § 2.2-3900 shall be deemed to alter, supersede, or otherwise modify the authority of the Division or of any local human rights or human relations commissions established pursuant to § 15.2-853 or 15.2-965.
1987, c. 581, § 2.1-725; 1995, c. 838; 1997, c. 404; 2000, c. 933; 2001, c. 844, § 2.2-2639; 2002, c. 561; 2005, cc. 756, 770, 857; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2014, c. 635.