The recent case Moss v. Saja has shed light on the administrative process required to bring claims pursuant to the Virginia Values Act and disability discrimination suits in the Commonwealth. The U.S. District Court for the Western District of Virginia heard the case on a motion for summary judgment. Moss, a biracial man with significant medical disabilities, was subject to continuous bullying and demeaning remarks from his supervisor during his employment at a Sonic restaurant in Waynesboro, Virginia. Moss’s disability required him to take frequent breaks and limited his ability to complete manual labor. Moss’s supervisor repeatedly mocked Moss’s disability and accused Moss of faking his medical conditions to get out of doing work. The culmination of Moss’s claims was an incident where Moss’s supervisor and several other coworkers verbally threatened and physically pushed Moss in the parking lot.
Moss filed a lawsuit on five separate grounds. The employer filed for summary judgment. This article focuses on the court’s denial of summary judgment for Count I and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) portion of Count III, as well as the court’s dismissal of Moss’s Virginia Values Act (VVA) claims in Count IV and V.
ADA Claims: Moss prevailed against a motion for summary judgment on his claims of disability harassment, discrimination, and retaliation in violation of the ADA. The court cited “the close temporal proximity between [Moss’s] complaints and Moss’s termination” and the numerous demeaning remarks from Moss’s supervisor as the basis for why “a reasonable jury could find that [the supervisor’s] harassing conduct was severe and pervasive.” The court noted that Moss was subject to repeated harassment during over 80% of Moss’s shifts at work. Accordingly, the court ruled there was a genuine dispute of material fact regarding whether the supervisor’s conduct was “sufficiently severe and pervasive.”
Virginia Values Act – Procedural Requirements: The court dismissed Moss’s VAA claims because Moss failed to request and receive notice of a right-to-sue from the Virginia Office of Civil Rights. Moss had only received a right-to-sue for his federal claims from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The court reasoned that this was “fatal to his VVA claims” because “a separate right to sue notification was required, regardless of whether a workshare agreement was in place” and regardless of the receipt of a federal right-to-sue. Moss v. Saja provides substantial insight into the strict procedural requirements of the VVA, which given its recency, has sparse judicial interpretation and caselaw.
If you need more guidance or information, contact the employment law attorneys at General Counsel, PC today at 703-556-0411 or email@example.com. Attorneys at General Counsel, PC are specialized in labor and employment law and have experience working with business owners and individuals across Virginia, specifically in Fairfax County, Arlington, Loudoun County, and Prince William.