Today Governor Bob McDonnell’s office released Executive Directive One on state standards on discrimination in the workplace:
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.
And the Governor closes strongly:
Civility, fair treatment, and mutual respect shall be the standard of conduct expected in state employment.
UPDATE: LG Bill Bolling’s office also released a statement:
STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BOLLING ON EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION
RICHMOND – Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today issued the following statement regarding employment discrimination policies in the Commonwealth:
“In recent days, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued a letter to Virginia’s colleges and universities informing them that their internal employment discrimination policies could not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation because such prohibitions were not authorized under state law. While the Attorney General’s legal advice is consistent with that of other Attorneys General before him, it has created some understandable confusion and concern.
“Earlier today, Governor McDonnell issued a directive reiterating the policy of our administration as it relates to important employment practices. I agree wholeheartedly with that statement.
“As the Governor has said many times, we do not support and we will not tolerate employment related discrimination in any form. In this administration, personnel decisions will be based on qualification and performance, and prompt and appropriate disciplinary action will be taken against anyone who violates this policy.
“While various federal and state statutes set forth certain classifications in which employment related discrimination is prohibited as a matter of law, our policy and practice will be much broader than this. All state employees should take comfort in knowing that we will not tolerate employment related discrimination in any form or for any reason, including sexual orientation.”
UPDATE 2: AG Ken Cuccinelli responds:
Comment from Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli, II:
I applaud Governor McDonnell for the tone he is setting for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I will remain in contact with the Governor and continue to work with him on issues important to Virginians. I expect Virginia’s state employees to follow all state and federal anti-discrimination laws and will enforce Virginia’s laws to the fullest extent.