Editor: Not just Christians need to worry about the Virginia Values Act. Loudoun photographer, Bob Updegrove, has filed a lawsuit against it with the U.S. District Court in Alexandria on religious grounds. Virginia businesses need to worry, too. The VVA is anti-business. It goes too far to ban workplace discrimination of certain classes of individuals: LGBTQ+.
The laws that the VVA spawns may put any business or public body with more than five employees in financial jeopardy.
For example, a protected individual is not hired. That individual sues the business owner for discrimination. Even if the lawsuit is frivolous, the employer has to prove at great uncompensated expense that this individual is not a victim of discrimination but the wrong person for the job. How many businesses have hundreds of thousands of dollars to pay attorneys? Do you think this is exaggeration? Punitive damages are capped at $350,000 and compensatory damages, e.g., for emotional distress, are unlimited. Another example, what if a protected individual is hired and turns out to be incompetent? The individual is fired and then sues for discrimination under the VVA. Again, the employer must prove at great uncompensated expense that the individual is not being fired due to discrimination.
How can businesses stay in business? They have now become the victim. Virginia’s economy will contract (fewer jobs, less production, less tax revenue). The VVA must be revised to balance businesses’ needs with those of the LGBTQ+ population.
Rose Ellen Ray, Leesburg