Arlington County, VA Human Rights

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Arlington County, VA, US

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Type: County Code

Status: Adopted on 10/2/04

Source File:


Chapter 31 is 17 pages long. We've included only the beginning portions here. To view or print the entire chapter, please use the Source File.

Chapter 31


§ 31-1. Statement of policy. Arlington County is a community richly diverse and valued for the heterogeneity of its residents. It is in the public interest of the county to assure that each citizen is treated fairly, provided equal protection of the law and equal opportunity to participate in the benefits, rights and privileges of community life. Discrimination deprives the citizenry of the bare essentials of life and is detrimental to the public welfare, safety and health of the community. This chapter is an expression of the commitment and support at the local level to continue working towards the improvement of the quality of life in the county. This chapter is established to ensure the protection and enforcement of human and civil rights for all people living or working in Arlington County by the elimination of and provision of remedies for discriminatory practices. The provisions of this chapter shall be construed liberally for the accomplishment of the policies herein.
(Ord. No. 89-3, 7-1-89)

§ 31-2. Definitions.
For the purpose of this chapter:

(1) Bona fide occupational qualification shall mean a bona fide occupational qualification as defined and interpreted under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 United States Code § 2000e et seq., or other applicable federal statute.

(2) Commercial real estate means any land or improvements, or both, or interest in such land or improvements, that is offered for sale or lease and that can be used for business, trade, or professional purposes under existing law or by changes in law contemplated under the offering, and which is not a dwelling. The fact that some adaptation of land or improvements, or both, must be made after the sale or lease is completed or that licenses or approvals are necessary to put it into use shall not mean that the land or improvements cannot be used for business, trade, or professional purposes, so long as those adaptations, licenses, and approvals are within the range that persons engaged in a business, trade, or profession are able to foresee in buying or leasing such property.

(3) Commission shall mean the Arlington Human Rights Commission, as established herein.

(4) Complainant shall mean any person who files a complaint with the commission, alleging that a violation of this chapter has been committed against such person.

(5) Complaint shall mean any written allegation sufficient to indicate that a named respondent has committed a violation of this chapter.

(6) County shall mean the County of Arlington, Virginia.

(7) County attorney shall mean the Arlington County Attorney or other legal representative appointed by the county board to serve as legal counsel for the commission.

(8) County board shall mean the county board of Arlington County, Virginia.

(9) Director shall mean the executive director of the Arlington County Human Rights Commission.

(10) Discrimination based on sex shall include, but shall not be limited to, sexual harassment, discrimination because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, and women affected by pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions shall be treated the same for all employment related purposes, including fringe benefit programs, as other persons not affected by pregnancy but similar in their ability or inability to work, and nothing in this chapter shall be interpreted to permit otherwise. This chapter shall not require an employer to pay for the health insurance benefits for abortion, except where the life of the mother would be endangered if the fetus were carried to term, or except where medical complications have arisen from an abortion; provided, that nothing herein shall preclude an employer from providing abortion benefits or otherwise affect bargaining agreements in regard to abortion.

(11) Dwelling means any building, structure, or portion thereof, that is occupied or is intended, arranged or designed to be used or occupied as the home, residence or sleeping place of one (1) or more persons or families, and any vacant land that is offered for sale or lease for the construction of such building or structure and includes any interest in a dwelling as so defined.

(12) Educational institution shall mean any nursery, kindergarten, elementary or secondary school, academy, college, university, extension course or nursing, secretarial, business, vocational, technical, trade or professional school, or joint apprenticeship program. The term "educational institution" shall not include public schools, colleges or universities.

(13) Employer shall mean any person who, within the county, employs for wages, salaries or on commission four (4) or more persons who are not related to the employer (if an individual) or to any partner or majority shareholder of the employer (if a partnership or a corporation) and who are not employed in domestic service in the employer's personal residence. Employer shall not mean the United States, federal agencies, political subdivisions of the United States, United States instrumentalities, the United States Postal Service, or similar organizations or entities, the Commonwealth of Virginia or its agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions.

(14) Employment agency shall mean all persons who, with or without compensation, undertake to solicit in the county for potential employees or refer persons for potential employment in the county.

(15) Executive director shall mean the person appointed by the county manager to the position of executive director of the human rights commission, or the executive director's designated representative.

(16) Familial status shall mean one (1) or more individuals who have not attained the age of eighteen (18) years being domiciled with (i) a parent or another person having legal custody of such individual or individuals, or (ii) the designee of such parent or another person having custody, with the written permission of such parent or other person. The term "familial status" also includes any person who is pregnant or is in the process of securing legal custody of any individual who has not attained the age of eighteen (18) years.

(17) Family shall mean a group living together as a unit and includes an individual.

(18) Handicap shall mean any condition or characteristic that renders a person a handicapped person.

(19) Handicapped person shall mean any person who:

a. Has a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one (1) or more major life activities or has a record of such impairment, and which is unrelated to a person's ability to perform the duties of a particular job or position or is unrelated to the individual's qualification for employment or promotion or is unrelated to a person's ability to utilize or benefit from a service or program provided by an educational institution or place of public accommodation, or is unrelated to a person's ability to acquire, rent, or maintain property; or
b. Is regarded as having such a physical or mental impairment.

(20) Housing shall mean the same thing as dwelling.

(21) Labor organization shall mean any association organized for mutual benefit and operating as a labor union, association, committee or organization for the purpose of collective bargaining and other lawful functions of labor unions, or any employee representation committee, any of whose members are employed in the county whether or not having a duly authorized charter as a local labor union from either a state or national labor organization, and whether or not registered with the state department of labor.

(22) Lending institution shall mean any bank, insurance company, savings and loan association, credit union, finance company or any other person regularly engaged in the business of lending money, guaranteeing loans, or furnishing consumer credit or other credit-related services; any person who regularly extends, renews or continues credit; or any assignee of an original creditor who participates in the decision to extend, renew or continue credit; or any person who regularly arranges for the extension, renewal or continuation of credit.

(23) Major life activities means functions such as, but not limited to, caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing hearing, speaking, breathing, learning or working.

(24) Marital status shall mean the status of being married, divorced, single or widowed. The term "marital status" also includes any person whose marriage has been dissolved through annulment, and any person seeking a divorce or an annulment.

(25) Mental impairment means:

a. A disability attributable to mental retardation, autism, or any other neurologically handicapping condition closely related to mental retardation and requiring treatment similar to that required by mentally retarded individuals; or
b. An organic or mental impairment that has substantial adverse effects on an individual's cognitive or volitional functions, including central nervous system disorders or significant discrepancies among mental functions of an individual.
For the purposes of this chapter, the term "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.

(26) Notice of investigation shall mean any formal statement issued by the commission, on a form to be prepared by the commission, alleging that any person has committed a violation of this chapter and initiating an investigation of such alleged violation.

(27) Party shall mean any complainant or respondent.

(28) Person shall mean any individual or individuals, partnership, association, organization, company, corporation, joint-stock company, labor union, mutual company, trustee in bankruptcy, receiver or other fiduciary, or the agent, legal representative or employee thereof. For purposes of section 31-3(a), the term person shall include any owner, lessor, assignor, builder, manager, broker, salesman, agent, employee or lending institution.

(29) Person in the business of selling or renting dwellings shall mean any person who, within the preceding twelve (12) months, has participated as principal, real estate broker, real estate sales person or agent in three (3) or more transactions involving the sale, lease or rental of housing or who owns any dwelling designed or intended for occupancy by or occupied by five (5) or more families.

(30) Physical impairment means any physical condition, anatomic loss, or cosmetic disfigurement which is caused by bodily injury, birth defect, or illness. "Physical impairment" does not include active alcoholism or current drug use.

(31) Public accommodation shall mean and includes every business, professional or commercial enterprise, hospital or nursing home, place of lodging, refreshment, entertainment, sports, recreation or transportation facility located in the county, whether licensed or not, public or private, or transportation facility located in the county, whether licensed or not, public or private, whose goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations are extended, offered, sold or otherwise made available in any manner to the public. "Public accommodation" does not include a bona fide private club or other establishment not in fact open to the public.

(32) Qualified handicapped person shall mean:

a. With respect to employment, a handicapped person who, with reasonable accommodation as set out in Virginia Code Section 51.5-41 or its successor, can perform the essential functions of the job in question.
b. With respect to other goods, public accommodations, housing or services, means any handicapped person who meets the essential nondiscriminatory eligibility requirements for the receipt of such goods or services.

(33) Real estate broker shall mean a person doing business in the County of Arlington who is the holder of a real estate broker's license issued pursuant to applicable laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(34) Real estate sales person shall mean a person doing business in the County of Arlington who is the holder of a real estate license issued pursuant to applicable laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

(35) Real estate transaction shall mean any sale, exchange, rental, lease, assignment, sublease, or other transfer of housing.

(36) Religious organization shall mean any bona fide organization, association or society organized or operated for exclusively religious, purposes or any nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization, association or society, unless membership in such organization, association or society is restricted on account of race, color, national origin or sex.

(37) To rent means to lease, to sublease, to let or otherwise in any way to grant for a consideration the right to occupy premises not owned by the occupant.

(38) Respondent shall mean any person alleged in any complaint filed with the commission, or any notice of investigation issued by the commission, to have violated this chapter.

(39) Restrictive covenant shall mean any specification purporting to restrict or affect the holding, occupancy, ownership, rental, lease or transfer of any interest in land or housing on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin or handicap.

(40) Sexual orientation means a tendency to either heterosexuality, bisexuality or homosexuality; having a history of such a tendency or being identified as having such a tendency. Heterosexuality means sexual desire for others of the opposite sex from one's own sex. Bisexuality means sexual desire for others of both the male and female sex. Homosexuality means sexual desire for others of one's own sex.
(Ord. No. 89-3, 7-1-89; Ord. No. 89-17, 7-1-89; Ord. No. 91-25, 6-22-91; Ord. No. 92-51, 11-14-92)