Vermont: Adds “Crime Victims” to Protected Classes, New Unpaid Leave

APPLIES TO

All Employers with VT Employees

EFFECTIVE

July 1, 2018

QUESTIONS?

Contact HR On-Call

(888) 378-2456

Effective July 1, 2018, HB 711 adds “crime victims” to the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act’s list of protected classes.  This addition prohibits retaliation and discrimination against crime victims, and also requires employers to provide an unpaid leave of absence to employees who need to attend legal proceedings related to this class.

“Crime victim” refers to individuals who are victims of domestic relations abuse, stalking, sexual assault, or abuse of a vulnerable adult under specified Vermont statutes.  The definition also includes the crime victim’s child, foster child, parent, spouse, stepchild or ward who lives with the victim, or parent of the victim’s spouse, provided these individuals are not identified as a defendant.

Employers must permit such crime victims unpaid leave to allow the employee to attend:

  • A deposition or other court proceeding related to a criminal proceeding where the employee is a victim, and has a right or obligation to appear;
  • A relief from abuse hearing when the employee seeks relief as the plaintiff;
  • A hearing concerning an order against stalking or sexual assault when the employee seeks relief as the plaintiff; or
  • A hearing seeking relief from abuse, neglect, or exploitation when the employee seeks relief as the plaintiff.

Employees may use accrued benefit time (such as vacation, paid time off, or sick leave) in lieu of part or all unpaid leave.  Employers are also required to maintain the same level of benefits coverage for the employee for the duration of the leave.  Upon return from leave, the employee must maintain the same job with the same level of compensation, benefits, and other terms and conditions of employment, with few exceptions.

Action Items

  1. Have handbook and policy documents revised to address the new protected category and unpaid crime victims leave.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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