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An act relating to the prevention of sexual harassment signed into law

Sexual Harassment (H.707/Act 183)  Signed into law May 28, 2018.

The law:

  • Encourages employers and labor organizations to conduct annual sexual harassment education and training programs for employees and members, and to provide an additional training for supervisory and managerial employees.
  • Prohibits mandatory pre-employment nondisclosure agreements from barring employees from disclosing sexual harassment or otherwise waiving their legal rights related to a sexual harassment claim.
  • Prohibits sexual harassment settlement agreements from preventing the employee from ever applying to or working for the company or its affiliates again and requires settlement agreements to include language reinforcing the employee’s right to report the harassment to and/or cooperate in an investigation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Vermont Attorney General, or the Human Rights Commission. Parties to a settlement would be required to notify the Attorney General about settlements reached (though this data would remain confidential and not subject to public inspection).
  • Extends sexual harassment legal protections and remedies to independent contractors, who are not currently protected.
  • Expands the authority of the Attorney General's Office and the Vermont Human Rights Commission to include conducting workplace audits for compliance with Vermont Law to the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission.
  • Requires the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission to expand and make easier the sexual harassment reporting system. • Requires the Vermont Commission on Women to execute a statewide outreach and education program and appropriates $125,000 to VCW for that purpose.