Vermont Sex Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Vermont Sex Discrimination: What you need to know

The Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity unless a bona fide occupational qualification (BFOQ) exception applies (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495 et seq.).
Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against any employee who has opposed any discriminatory acts of the employer (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495(5)). The law applies to all employers in the state, regardless of size (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495d).
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BFOQ exception. The Act provides an exception that permits an employer to make employment decisions on the basis of sex because of a BFOQ (e.g., a females-only policy for models in a women's clothing store; requiring a male actor for the role of a male character).
Individual liability. The Vermont Supreme Court has ruled that a supervisor can be held personally liable for employment discrimination under the state Fair Employment Practices Act (Payne v. U.S. Airways, Inc., 987 A.2d 944 (Vt. 2009)). The Supreme Court ruled that the definition of employer under state law is "markedly and substantially" different from the definition under federal law. The state law includes the phrase "and any agent" in the definition of employer and applies to all employers regardless of size. Therefore, the court concluded that the state law allows for lawsuits against employees acting as agents for the employer.
“Sexual orientation” is not defined under the Act, but generally means having or being perceived as having an orientation for heterosexuality, bisexuality, or homosexuality. The Act provides an exception for discriminatory employment decisions made by a religious or denominational institution or ...

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