Virginia Makes Significant Changes to State Employment Laws

Virginia employers must comply with a host of new employment laws.


  • Virginia has enacted a number of significant changes to its employment laws to establish new protections and rights for employees.

  • These changes represent a substantial shift in state law, but have effectively brought Virginia on par with existing practices and laws in neighboring jurisdictions.

  • Virginia employers should update their policies and practices in light of the significant expansion of employee protections and rights with regard to discrimination, whistleblower retaliation, non-compete agreements, and other areas.

The 2018 election in Virginia ushered in Democratic control of both houses of the state legislature and a Democratic Governor; together, they have enacted a series of sweeping legislative actions, including, recently, a suite of changes to the Commonwealth’s employment laws. These changes include new protections against employee discrimination, partial prohibitions on certain non-compete clauses, a general protection for whistleblowers, wage transparency laws, a “ban the box” law for simple marijuana possession convictions, and expanded private rights of action. Except as noted below, these changes went into effect on July 1, 2020. For the most part, the new laws bring Virginia in line with existing practices in neighboring states and Washington, DC, and so should not be a cause for significant compliance concerns for multi-state and national employers. Nonetheless, Virginia employers should be aware of the recent changes and take steps to ensure compliance by updating their policies, practices, and agreements, as necessary, and are encouraged to consult with legal counsel. FULL ARTICLE