Sovereign Immunity Shields the Commonwealth from Virginia Human Rights Act Claims

May 27, 2020
Virginia Lawyer

About Sovereign Immunity

Sovereign immunity is a legal doctrine that shields the government and its entities from certain legal actions, including claims made under the Virginia Human Rights Act (VHRA). Under sovereign immunity, the Commonwealth of Virginia cannot be sued without its consent.

The Virginia Human Rights Act

The Virginia Human Rights Act is a state law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, or disability. It is designed to protect individuals from unfair treatment in employment, housing, public accommodations, and access to education.

Sovereign Immunity and VHRA Claims

While the Virginia Human Rights Act provides important protections against discrimination, it is essential to understand that sovereign immunity acts as a limitation on claims made against the Commonwealth. This means that individuals may not be able to directly sue the Commonwealth for alleged violations of the VHRA.


There are certain exceptions to the sovereign immunity doctrine that allow individuals to pursue VHRA claims against specific state agencies. These exceptions include situations where the Commonwealth has explicitly waived its sovereign immunity or where Congress has abrogated sovereign immunity through federal legislation.

Impact on Legal Proceedings

When faced with a VHRA claim against the Commonwealth, it is crucial to navigate the legal landscape carefully. The limitations imposed by sovereign immunity require skillful handling to ensure the protection of individuals' rights while understanding the complex interplay between federal and state laws.

Expert Legal Guidance

If you believe that you have experienced discrimination under the Virginia Human Rights Act and are unsure about how sovereign immunity may affect your claim, Richardson Law Firm PC is here to help. Our team of experienced attorneys specializes in Law and Government matters, including VHRA claims.

Why Choose Richardson Law Firm PC?

  • Expertise: Our attorneys have in-depth knowledge of Virginia laws, including the VHRA and sovereign immunity.
  • Experience: We have successfully handled numerous VHRA cases, advocating for our clients' rights.
  • Personalized Approach: We understand that each case is unique and provide tailored legal strategies to achieve the best possible outcomes.
  • Compassionate Guidance: Our team is committed to providing compassionate support and guidance throughout the legal process.
  • Client Satisfaction: We prioritize our clients' satisfaction and work diligently to achieve their goals.

Contact Us Today

For expert legal advice on VHRA claims involving sovereign immunity, contact Richardson Law Firm PC. Our dedicated team of attorneys is ready to assist you. Schedule a consultation today to discuss your case and explore your legal options.