Based on new and updated laws, employers in Vermont are required to post two new workplace notices: Employment Protections for Victims of Crime and Sexual Harassment Is Illegal. While both laws went into effect on July 1, 2018, the notice regarding sexual harassment was not released by the state’s Department of Labor until this week.
Have no fear, we are currently working to get the updated Vermont poster out to customers in the Green Mountain State as soon as possible.
What Employers & Employees Need to Know
Employment Protections for Victims of Crime
Under the new law, employees who have been victims of a crime are protected from harassment or other discrimination by an employer based on their status as crime victims.
The notice describes a “crime victim” as someone who has:
- Obtained a relief from abuse order against a family or household member
- Obtained a court order against stalking or sexual assault
- Obtained a court order against abuse of a vulnerable adult
- Sustained physical, emotional, or financial injury as the direct result of a crime, and is identified as a crime victim in an affidavit filed by law enforcement
Employers must provide job-protected, unpaid leave to crime victims so that they may attend certain legal proceedings related to the crime. These include:
- Criminal proceedings at which an employee has a legal right or obligation to appear
- Relief from abuse hearings and neglect or exploitation hearings under which the employee is a plaintiff
- Hearings regarding an order against stalking or sexual assault
Employees may use accrued sick leave, vacation leave, or any other paid leave while they are on crime victim leave. During this time, employers are required to continue providing employees with their normal employment benefits. In addition, employers must allow employees to return to their same job, or a comparable position, upon their return from leave.
Protections for Victims of Sexual Harassment
The updated Sexual Harassment Is Illegal notice states that Vermont law now protects all workers, not just employees, against sexual harassment—even if these workers aren’t considered “employees” under state or federal law.
The term employee has been changed to reflect work agreements beyond the traditional employer-employee relationship. For example, an employee is now referred to as “an individual performing work or services.”
New contact information for the Attorney General’s Office, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Human Rights Commission has been provided, including two brand-new email addresses.
Despite the changes we’ve outlined above, much of the notice remains the same, including the detailed descriptions of sexual harassment and the information on unlawful retaliation against individuals who file sexual harassment complaints. Plus, employers must still ensure a workplace free of sexual harassment, and supervisors must respond promptly to and report all complaints about suspected acts of sexual harassment.
Please note that one update we were anticipating that has not been made is to the publication code at the bottom of the notice. Vermont’s Department of Labor has decided to retain the original WH-7 (10/07) publication code, despite the amended law’s July 1, 2018 effective date.
Future Change for Vermont
We want to alert you to Vermont’s next minimum wage increase. Effective January 1, 2019, the state will begin annual January 1 minimum wage increases of 5% or a percentage based on the Consumer Price Index. The Department of Labor has informed us that the updated Minimum Wage notice will probably be released by November 2018.
We Can Keep You in Compliance
Based on the additional change coming soon for Vermont, we encourage you to order our OneSystem 1-Year Compliance Plan, so that you will automatically receive the updated Vermont poster as soon as it is available. And because we provide free poster updates for mandatory changes, no matter how many occur during the 12-month period, you can always count on Poster Compliance Center to keep you in compliance.