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Employment Laws in Vermont

Filed under Hiring Workers. Fact checked on June 7, 2013.

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Employers in Vermont must conform to these state rules relating to the employment relationship.

Employee means every person who is permitted, required or directed by any employer, in consideration of direct or indirect gain or profit, to perform services.

Employer means individuals and organizations doing business in Vermont, and agents of the employer that have one or more individuals performing services for the employer within the state.

Prohibited Employment Discrimination

Employers must conduct all employment-related activities for an otherwise qualified individual without regard to:

  • race
  • color
  • religion
  • ancestry
  • national origin
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • place of birth
  • age
  • handicap of an otherwise qualified individual

Bona fide occupational qualifications permit discriminatory behavior.

Equal pay. Discrimination in the payment of wages based on sex for equal work is prohibited but different wage rates are permitted where the wage differences are based on a seniority system, merit system, a system in which earnings are based on quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex.

Effective July 1, 2013, employers asserting different wages are required to demonstrate that the factor:

  • does not perpetuate a sex-based differential in compensation,
  • is job-related with respect to the position in question, and
  • is based on a legitimate business consideration.

Wage information disclosure. An employer cannot require as a condition of employment:

  • that an employee refrain from disclosing the amount of his or her wages
  • require an employee to sign a waiver or a document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose the amount of his or her wages
  • discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages

Effective July 1, 2013, an employer cannot prohibit employees from inquiring about or discussing the wages of other employees.

HIV. Employers may not request or require an applicant, prospective employee or employee to have an HIV-related blood test as a condition of employment. Employers may not indicate a preference or limitation, refuse properly to classify, limit or segregate membership with regard to an individual's positive test result from an HIV-related blood test.

Civil unions. Civil unions between same-sex couples are legally recognized in Vermont.

Same-sex marriage. Same-sex marriage is legal in the state of Vermont.

Nursing mothers. Effective July 1, 2013, an employer is prohibited from retaliating or discriminating against an employee who exercises the right or attempts to exercise the right to breastfeed in the workplace in compliance with the law.

Flexible working arrangements. Effective January 1, 2014, employees may request, twice in a calendar year, intermediate or long-term flexible work arrangements to:

  • change the number of days or hours worked
  • change the time the employee arrives or leaves work
  • allow the employee to work from home
  • allow job sharing

An employer may consider the impact on the business in accepting or denying the request and would be required to notify the employee of its decision, with the notice in writing if denied and the employee’s request was made in writing.

Whistle-blower protection. An employer is prohibited from retaliating or taking any other negative action against an individual because the employer knows or suspects that the individual has filed a complaint with the Department of Labor or other authority, or reported a violation of the state's workers' compensation law, or cooperated in the investigation of incorrect classification, discrimination, or other violation of the workers' compensation law.

Credit history. Effective July 1, 2012, employers are prohibited from asking about an applicant's or employee's credit history or report and cannot discriminate against applicants or employees based on their credit history. Certain exceptions apply.

Recordkeeping/Posting Requirements

Employers must post in a prominent and accessible location a poster containing the elements of the employer's sexual harassment policy and distribute it to every employee.

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