The Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495 et seq.). The Act covers all public and private employers in the state, including employment agencies and labor unions.
Sexual harassment. "Sexual harassment" is defined as a form of sex discrimination that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when:
• Submission to the conduct is either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of employment;
• An individual's submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as part of an employment decision affecting the individual; or
• The conduct has the purpose or effect of substantially interfering with an individual's work performance or creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495d(13)).
Gender identity. "Gender identity" is defined under the Act as an individual's actual or perceived gender identity, or gender-related characteristics intrinsically related to an individual's gender or gender-identity, regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth (VT State. Tit. 1 Sec. 144). The Act expressly permits employers to establish and enforce reasonable workplace policies in matters related to gender identity, including a reasonable dress code.
The Act expressly states that all employers have an obligation to ensure that their workplace is free from sexual harassment (VT Stat. Tit. 21 Sec. 495h). Employers are required to:
• Adopt a sexual harassment policy (see Sexual Harassment Policy Requirements in this section);