RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Attorney General Mark Herring announced the creation of the Office of Civil Rights, which will be within the Office of the Attorney General.
The new designation of the Office of Civil Rights is the culmination of a multi-year plan to expand the authority and resources dedicated to protecting the civil rights of Virginians and to place the protection of civil rights at the center of the mission of the Office of Attorney General.
“The attorney general should be on the side of the people and fighting for them. That has really been at the forefront of my work as attorney general, and this is yet another step in that multi-year plan,” Herring said.
Attorney General Herring is again supporting legislation to make the Office of Civil Rights a permanent feature of the Office of Attorney General, ensuring that protection of Virginians’ civil rights will always be a priority.
The Office of Civil Rights’ areas of focus and responsibility will include the following:
- Conducting pattern or practice investigations to identify and eliminate unconstitutional and illegal policing
- LGBTQ and gender-based discrimination
- Housing discrimination
- Discrimination in employment and places of public accommodation
- Protecting the rights of expectant and new mothers
“During my time as attorney general, we have dramatically shifted the role and mission of the office to ensure that the protection and expansion of Virginians’ rights is at the center of all we do,” Attorney General Herring said. “Over the last few years, we have added legal authority, resources, and incredible legal talent to our team, which now allows us to formally create the OAG’s first Office of Civil Rights.”
Under this new organization, the Office of Civil Rights will grow to a staff of 13, including seven attorneys and six professional staff, including investigators, working to protect Virginians’ civil rights and put a stop to violations.
When Attorney General Herring took office, the Division of Human Rights had just one attorney and three additional staff members.
The new Office of Civil Rights can be reached by phone at (804) 225-2292, or by email at CivilRights@oag.state.va.us.
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