What is Discrimination?
Unlawful discrimination occurs when a person is harassed or treated arbitrarily or differently because of their membership in a "protected class." A protected class is a group of people who share common characteristics and are protected from discrimination and harassment by federal, state, and/or local laws. The Alexandria Human Rights Code recognizes the following protected classes:
- Gender (including sexual harassment)
- National Origin
- Marital Status
- Familial Status (in cases of housing discrimination only)
- Sexual Orientation
- Disability Status (actual, regarded as having, and/or record of having a disability)
The Alexandria Office of Human Rights enforces antidiscrimination laws in the City of Alexandria by investigating alleged discrimination in:
- Harassment (scroll down for more information)
- Disability and religious accommodations
- Other terms & conditions of employment
- Sale or rental of housing
- Disability accommodations or modifications
- Loans for the purchase, building, renovation, or repair of housing
- Provision and use of goods and services
- Access to and enjoyment of facilities and other privileges
- Includes places like restaurants, hotels, retail stores, gyms and theaters
Health and Social Services
- Access to services, programs, benefits, facilities and other privileges
- Service rates
- Terms, conditions, facilities, and other benefits
- Disability accommodations
- Provision, denial, or termination of credit-related services
- Credit scores
It is illegal for an employer, housing provider, or other entity covered by the Alexandria Code to take an adverse action against you for:
- Filing a discrimination complaint;
- Objecting to a discriminatory practice; or
- Participating in an investigation of discrimination
Harassment is a form of discrimination that involves unwanted and offensive conduct that is directed at you because of your race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, etc.
Harassment can include:
- Slurs or epithets
- Threatening acts
- Posting offensive materials on walls, bulletin boards, e-mail, etc.
To be considered harassment, conduct must:
- Be serious and frequent enough to create a hostile environment; and
- Interfere with your ability to work, live, or enjoy a public place
What is Sexual Harassment?
- Sexual harassment is unwanted and offensive verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature.
- It can include sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, offensive comments, jokes or gestures, exposure to sexually suggestive pictures or other objects, and physical touching or grabbing.
- Either victim or harasser may be a woman or a man, and both victim and harasser can be of the same gender.