McDonnell: "Employment discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated"

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I certainly didn't expect this, but at first glance it looks strong. I'm particularly impressed (and amazed) that McDonnell's order specifies "one’s sexual orientation" as a "class of persons" that can not be discriminated against in state employment. Wow, is Ken Cuccinelli's head now exploding? What about "Sideshow" Bob Marshall's? Ha.

As the chief executive officer for the Commonwealth of Virginia, I hereby establish a standard of conduct to ensure that all cabinet members, Executive Branch agency heads, managers, supervisors and employees understand and enforce state and federal law prohibiting employment discrimination.

Employment discrimination of any kind will not be tolerated by this Administration. The Virginia Human Rights Act recognizes the unlawfulness of conduct that violates any Virginia or federal statute or regulation governing discrimination against certain enumerated classes of persons. The Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution prohibits discrimination without a rational basis against any class of persons.

Discrimination based on factors such as one’s sexual orientation or parental status violates the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution. Therefore, discrimination against enumerated classes of persons set forth in the Virginia Human Rights Act or discrimination against any class of persons without a rational basis is prohibited.

Consistent with state and federal law, and the Virginia and United States Constitutions, I hereby direct that the hiring, promotion, compensation, treatment, discipline, and termination of state employees shall be based on an individual’s job qualifications, merit and performance. No employee of the Executive Branch shall engage in any discriminatory conduct against another employee.

Executive Directive 1 (2010)

Executive Directive 1 (2010)

Allegations of any violation of the law or this standard of conduct shall be brought promptly to the attention of the Director of the Department of Human Resource Management for review and corrective action. Any cabinet member, agency head, manager, supervisor or employee who discriminates against a state employee or prospective employee in violation of the law or this standard of conduct shall be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, ranging from reprimand to termination.

I further direct agency heads to ensure that every manager and supervisor in their respective agency is aware of and enforces this standard of conduct. Civility, fair treatment, and mutual respect shall be the standard of conduct expected in state employment.
/s/ Robert F. McDonnell, Governor
Note: Decision Virginia broke this story. Nice work!

P.S. By the way, didn't Attorney General McDonnell tell Tim Kaine that this was the realm of the legislature and not the executive branch? Apparently, politics trumps principle for Bob McDonnell, which in this case is a good thing!

UPDATE: Equality Virginia has issued a statement.
Equality Virginia Chief Executive Officer, Jon Blair, issued the following statement in response to the Governor's issuance of Executive Directive #1 today:

Equality Virginia is gratified that the Governor has responded positively to our call for action. The Governor took a major positive step forward today toward assuring that gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender workers will not be subject to discrimination in state employment. Equality Virginia applauds his implementation of a "standard of conduct" that recognizes that discrimination based on sexual orientation is unconstitutional and establishes a strict prohibition against such discrimination in the state workforce. At the same time, however, the directive is silent regarding discrimination based on gender identity, and does not afford any protection to students at our state colleges and universities, so it is clear that there is much work still to be done.

Accordingly, Equality Virginia will continue to urge the Governor and the legislature to work together with us to codify workplace protections for all gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender state employees and to support future legislation that protects Virginians from all discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing and public accommodations.

Equality Virginia sincerely hopes that the Attorney General agrees that the Governor's action today is within his authority and that he will defend the Governor's enforcement of Executive Directive #1.