National origin discrimination claims by a special agent with the Virginia State Police aren’t barred by a grievance he previously filed over his firing, the Fourth Circuit ruled Aug. 16.

Antonio Passaro couldn’t have included his allegations of anti-Italian American bias in the state Office of Employment Dispute Resolution grievance process provided to troopers and agents under the Virginia Code, a 2-1 court said in a case of first impression. “While no Virginia cases directly address” whether the “ordinary caveats” to the doctrine of claim preclusion apply under the grievance law, there are cases that provide sufficient guidance to predict...