Tag Archives: Vermont

NEW LAW: Vermont’s Minimum Wage to Increase January 1, 2019

Vermont employers, mark your calendars: The Vermont Department of Labor recently announced that on January 1, 2019, Vermont’s minimum wage will increase from $10.50 to $10.78 per hour. The minimum wage rate for tipped employees of large employers will also increase from $5.25 to $5.39 per hour.

Under Vermont law, Vermont’s minimum wage rate increases annually every January 1 by either 5% or the percentage increase of the Consumer Price Index, CPI-U, U.S.: city average,
not seasonally adjusted, whichever is smaller.

It is recommended that all Vermont employers prepare for these increases and download the revised minimum wage poster for 2019.

NEW GUIDANCE: Vermont Attorney General Issues Guidance On Vermont’s Marijuana Law


The Vermont Attorney General recently issued the Guide to Vermont’s Laws on Marijuana in the Workplace, which provides employers with an overview of the changes to Vermont’s marijuana laws, and summarizes existing employment laws relating to drug testing in the workplace.

Vermont’s  recreational marijuana law legalized marijuana for recreational use starting July 1, 2018.  This new law left employers wondering what rights they had to control drug use within their workforce.  The new Guide clarifies that employers maintain certain rights with respect to employee drug use, including: Continue reading NEW GUIDANCE: Vermont Attorney General Issues Guidance On Vermont’s Marijuana Law

NEW LAW — Vermont Amends Its Sexual Harassment Law

On May 28, 2017, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed Act No. 183 (An Act Relating to the Prevention of Sexual Harassment) into law.

This act makes numerous changes to Vermont’s laws related to sexual harassment, including:

    • requiring that a working relationship with a person hired to perform work or services be free from sexual harassment;
    • prohibiting employment contracts from containing provisions that prevent an employee from disclosing sexual harassment or waive an employee’s rights or remedies with respect to a claim of sexual harassment;
    • prohibiting agreements to settle a claim of sexual harassment from including provisions that prevent an employee from working for the employer or an affiliate of the employer in the future;
    • requiring settlement agreements regarding claims of sexual harassment to state that it does not prevent the employee from reporting sexual harassment to an appropriate governmental agency, complying with a discovery request or testifying at a hearing or trial related to a claim of sexual harassment, or exercising his or her right under State or federal labor law to engage in concerted activity for mutual aid and protection;
  • permitting the Attorney General or Human Rights Commission to inspect a place of business or employment for purposes of determining whether the employer is complying with the law related to sexual harassment;
  • Directing the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission to develop “mechanisms” for employees and members of the public to submit complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment. These mechanisms include, at a minimum, an easy-to-use portal on the Attorney General’s or Human Rights Commission’s website and a telephone hotline; and
  • Instructing the Vermont Commission on Women to develop educational and outreach materials regarding the laws related to and best practices for preventing sexual harassment.

Continue reading NEW LAW — Vermont Amends Its Sexual Harassment Law

NEW LAW — Vermont Enacts New Protections for Crime Victims

Vermont recently passed a new law that adds crime victims as a protected status under Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA).  This new law goes into effect on July 1, 2018.  All Vermont employers are required to comply with this new law.

Under the new law, crime victims are afforded the same protections as other protected classes under the FEPA.  This means that they are to be free from discrimination because of their protected status.

In addition, employees who are the victim of a crime (who have continuously worked for six months or more, averaging at least 20 hours per week) are entitled to take unpaid leave only, to attend a deposition or court proceeding related to:

  • Certain criminal proceedings (the covered crimes are defined by the statute and range from things like sexual assault, domestic abuse and stalking to murder);
  • Relief from abuse hearings; order against stalking or sexual assault hearings; or
  • Relief from abuse, neglect, or exploitation of a vulnerable adult hearing.

Continue reading NEW LAW — Vermont Enacts New Protections for Crime Victims

NEW LAW — Gender-Neutral Restrooms Coming to Vermont

The movement towards gender-free restrooms has continued to gain momentum with Vermont joining as the latest state to authorize single-user restrooms for use by all genders in public facilities.

The new law (H.333), signed by Governor Phil Scott, will require all single-user bathrooms in public buildings or places of public accommodation to be marked as gender-neutral.

For purposes of the new law, a “single-user bathroom” is defined as “a single-occupancy restroom with at least one water closet and with an outer door that can be locked by the occupant.” 

The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2018, has been embraced by the state’s LGBT community, who has been vocal about protecting transgender individuals by embracing equality and inclusivity. Gov. Scott said, “This is especially important for kids in school who face anxiety and bullying over something as simple as using the restroom. Treating others in this way is not who we are as Vermonters, and I hope the signing of this bill will send a powerful message that that’s not the way we act.” Continue reading NEW LAW — Gender-Neutral Restrooms Coming to Vermont

Vermont Becomes Fifth State to Pass Salary History Ban

Vermont has joined the trend among states of banning salary history inquiries by employers by passing its own ban.  Effective July 1, 2018, Vermont employers will no longer be permitted to inquire about applicants’ salary history information.

Prohibited Acts and Inquiries

Under the new law, Vermont employers will be prohibited from:

  • Inquiring about or seeking information about a prospective employee’s current or past compensation from the prospective employee or his or her current or former employer;
  • Requiring that a prospective employee’s current or past compensation satisfy minimum or maximum criteria; or
  • Determining whether to interview a prospective employee based on his or her current or past compensation.

Permitted Act and Inquiries

If an applicant voluntarily discloses information about his or her current or past compensation, employers may, after making an offer of employment with compensation to the applicant:

  • Seek to confirm the applicant’s voluntarily disclosed salary history information; or
  • Request that the applicant confirm the voluntarily disclosed information.

Employers may also: Continue reading Vermont Becomes Fifth State to Pass Salary History Ban

NEW LAW: Recreational Marijuana Legalized in Vermont

On January 22, 2018, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed House Bill 511 into law.  This new law legalizes the use (and possession) of marijuana for recreational purposes in Vermont starting July 1, 2018.

Under the new law, all penalties for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana will be eliminated.  It also allows adults (persons over 20 years of age) to grow up to two mature and four immature marijuana plants.  The new law does not permit people to use marijuana in “public places” (e.g. streets, parks, public buildings, places of public accommodation and places where the use of tobacco products is prohibited).

Impact on Employers

The new law also makes it clear that the legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes does not create any employment-related protections.  Specifically, the new law does not do any of the following:

  • Require an employer to permit or accommodate the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana in the workplace;
  • Prevent an employer from adopting a policy that prohibits the use of marijuana in the workplace;
  • Create a cause of action against an employer that discharges an employee for violating a policy that restricts or prohibits the use of marijuana by employees; or
  • Prevent an employer from prohibiting or otherwise regulating the use, consumption, possession, transfer, display, transportation, sale or growing of marijuana on the employer’s premises.

What does this mean?  Simply put, Vermont employers are still permitted to prohibit employees from smoking pot in the workplace and/or from coming to work under the influence of marijuana. In addition, pre-employment drug testing and reasonable suspicion drug testing for marijuana use remain lawful. However, employers should remember that current drug tests only flag whether THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) is present in the individual’s system and does not determine the level of a tested individual’s impairment. This means that an individual can test positive for marijuana without being “high.” It is recommended that employers train frontline supervisors and managers will need to be more vigilant about documenting independent indications of impairment in the workplace such as unusual sleepiness, slowed perception and motor skills, and red eyes.

2018 MINIMUM WAGE CHECK-UP

With various cities and counties having enacted local minimum wages and 18 states (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Missouri, New Jersey, New York*, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington) are increasing their own minimum wages on January 1st (December 31st for New York), employers should take time to verify that they are meeting the minimum wage requirements of their state/city/county.

The below chart sets forth the minimum wage effective January 1, 2018.

employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits$11.91

Federal $7.25
State City/County  Amount?
Alabama  $7.25
Alaska*  $9.84
Arizona* — all cities/counties except …  $10.50
Flagstaff* $11.00
Arkansas  $8.50
California* — all cities/counties except …                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $11.00
Berkeley  $13.75
Cupertino* $13.50
El Cerrito*  $13.60
Emeryville                                           small employer (55 or less) $14.00
large employer (56 or more) $15.20
Los Altos* $13.50
Los Angeles                                         small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Malibu                                                  small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Milpitas* $12.00
Mountain View* $15.00
Oakland $12.86
Palo Alto* $13.50
Pasadena                                             small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Richmond*                                             employer does NOT pay $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $13.41
employer PAYS $1.50/hr towards medical benefits $11.91
Sacramento*                                      small employer (100 or less) $10.50
large employer (101 or more) $11.00
San Diego $11.50
San Francisco $14.00
San Jose* $13.50
San Leandro $13.00
San Mateo*                                                 For-profit organizations $13.50
Non-profit organizations $12.00
Santa Clara* $13.00
Santa Monica                                       small employer (25 or less) $10.50
large employer (26 or more) $12.00
Sunnyvale* $15.00
Los Angeles County                            small employer (25 or less)

unincorporated areas                            large employer (26 or more)

$10.50

$12.00

Colorado* $10.20
Connecticut $10.10
Delaware $8.25
Florida* $8.25
Georgia $7.25
Hawaii* $10.10
Idaho $7.25
Illinois — all cities/counties except … $8.25
Chicago $11.00
Cook County

(except for the Village of Barrington)

$10.00
Indiana $7.25
Iowa $7.25
Kansas $7.25
Kentucky $7.25
Louisiana $7.25
Maine* — all cities/counties except … $10.00
Portland $10.68
Maryland — all cities/counties except … $9.25
Montgomery County $11.50
Prince George’s County $11.50
Massachusetts $11.00
Michigan* $9.25
Minnesota* — all cities/counties except … “small employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of less than $500,000) $7.87
“large employers” (employers with an annual sales volume of $500,000+) $9.65
Minneapolis                                         large employer (101 or more) $10.00
Mississippi $7.25
Missouri $7.85
Montana* $8.30
Nebraska $9.00
Nevada $8.25
New Hampshire $7.25
New Jersey* $8.60
New Mexico — all cities/counties except … $7.50
Albuquerque*                                             employer provides benefits $7.95
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.95
Las Cruces* $9.45
Santa Fe $11.09
Bernalillo County*unincorporated areas                                             employer provides benefits $7.85
employer does NOT provide benefits $8.85
Santa Fe County unincorporated areas $11.09
New York**  “Upstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $10.40
“Downstate” employers (excluding fast food employees) $11.00
“Small” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees $12.00
Fast food employees outside NYC $11.75
“Large” NYC employers (excluding fast food employees) $13.00
Fast food employees inside NYC $13.50
North Carolina $7.25
North Dakota $7.25
Ohio* $8.30
Oklahoma $7.25
Oregon — all cities/counties except … $10.25
Portland $11.25
Nonurban Counties 

(Baker, Coos, Crook, Curry, Douglas, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Jefferson, Klmath, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa Wheeler counties)

$10.00
Pennsylvania $7.25
Rhode Island* $10.10
South Carolina $7.25
South Dakota* $8.85
Tennessee $7.25
Texas $7.25
Utah $7.25
Vermont* $10.50
Virginia $7.25
Washington* — all cities/counties except … $11.50
City of SeaTac* (hospitality and transportation workers) $15.64
Seattle* $14.00
small employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

small employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(500 or less)

$11.50
large employer who does not pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.00
large employer who does pay towards medical benefits

(501 or more)

$15.45
Tacoma* $12.00
Washington DC $12.50
West Virginia $8.75
Wisconsin $7.25
Wyoming $7.25
 * = increase in minimum wage effective January 1, 2018

** = increase in minimum wage effective December 31, 2017

 

Caveat: Please be advised that this information is being provided as a courtesy and that ePlace Solutions, Inc. does not track local laws and ordinances and will not update this information with changes in local laws and ordinances.

 

 

NEW LAW – Vermont to Require Accommodations for Pregnant Employees

Vermont Governor Phil Scott recently signed Vermont House Bill 136. This new law amends the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act by expanding the protections for pregnant employees.

This new law requires Vermont employers to provide accommodations for individuals suffering from pregnancy–related conditions. Under the law, a “pregnancy–related condition” is defined as a limitation of an employee’s ability to perform the functions of a job caused by pregnancy, childbirth, or a medical condition related to pregnancy or childbirth.

While the new law does not provide examples of what constitutes a reasonable accommodation, possible reasonable accommodations that an that the employer may be required to provide include, but are not limited to:

  • Restroom breaks,
  • Permission to carry a water bottle,
  • Breaks for increased water intake
  • Periodic rest,
  • Assistance with manual labor,
  • Job restructuring,
  • A modified work schedule, or
  • A temporary transfer to work that is less physically demanding or hazardous.

In addition, the law does not require employers to provide pregnancy disability leave. However, employers are required to provide reasonable accommodations to female employees (or applicants) who have a pregnancy-related disability.   A leave of absence may be a reasonable accommodation for a pregnancy-related disability.

Finally, employers will be required to post notice of the provisions of the law in a form provided by the Vermont Commissioner of the Department of Labor in a place conspicuous to employees at the employer’s place of business. This notice has not yet been developed.

The new law goes into effect on January 1, 2018. It is recommended that employers review their policies and procedures relating to pregnant employees and update those policies/procedures as necessary to comply with the new law. In addition, employers must be prepared to post the new notice starting January 1st.

Employee Drug Testing in Vermont

In recent months, the Vermont Attorney General has been “cracking down” on Vermont employer’s drug testing practices and taking steps to verify that all Vermont employers are complying with the technical nuances of Vermont’s law. This “crackdown” is evidenced in the Vermont Attorney General’s Office’s Employment Discrimination Complaint form, which includes a specific box employees can check if their employers unlawfully required that they take a drug test or discriminated against them based on a drug test.

With employee drug tests under increased scrutiny in Vermont, it is important for employers who have operations in Vermont to review their drug testing policies and make sure that its policies comply with Vermont law.

Under Vermont law (Title 21, Chapter 5, Section 513 of the Vermont Statutes):

An employer shall not request, require, or conduct random or company-wide drug tests except when such testing is required by federal law or regulation.

In other words, random drug testing of employees is strictly prohibited in Vermont. Instead, Vermont employers are only permitted to drug test current employees if there is probable cause/reasonable suspicion. Vermont employers are, however, allowed to drug test job applicants after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

In addition, if a current employee fails a lawfully given drug test (i.e. a drug test given based on an employer’s reasonable suspicion), Vermont law prohibits the employer from terminating the employee for failing the test. Instead, employers are required to maintain an Employee Assistance Program or a comparable rehabilitation program and must give the employee an opportunity to participate in the program. The employee can only be discharged if he or she completes the program and then subsequently fails a post-program drug test.

Take home for employers

Employers who operate in Vermont should review Vermont’s more stringent drug testing laws. For employers who operate in multiple states, this may require employers to review their drug testing policies and develop a policy that meets Vermont’s requirements (for its Vermont employees). In addition, multi-state employers should review the drug testing laws in all of the states in which they operate to verify that their policies comply with the state’s rules. Drug testing may be a situation where a “one size fits all” policy does not work.