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New Law Requires Sexual Harassment Complaints to be Sent to AG

MEMO TO THE BAR

To:            Members of the Vermont Bar

From:       Office of the Attorney General of Vermont

  T.J. Donovan, Vermont Attorney General

 

Date: June 25, 2018

Re:       Requirement under Act 183 to Submit Sexual Harassment Complaints Filed Pursuant to 21 V.S.A. sec. 495b to Vermont Attorney General and Human Rights Commission (effective July 1, 2018)

Summary of Notice Requirement

On May 28, 2018, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed into law Act 183, An Act Relating to Sexual Harassment. Act 183 goes into effect July 1, 2018.

The law includes a new statutory section, 21 V.S.A. § 495n. Section 495n requires that any person who files a court action involving claims of sexual harassment pursuant to 21 V.S.A. § 495b provide notice of the action to the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission.

Upon receipt of any complaint filed pursuant to Section 495n, the Attorney General or the Human Rights Commission may elect to intervene in the action to seek remedies pursuant to 21

V.S.A. § 495b, or, without becoming a party to the action, file a statement with the court addressing questions of law.

The full text of 21 V.S.A. § 495n is attached hereto.

Procedure for Submitting Complaints to Attorney General or Human Rights Commission

Effective July 1, 2018, if a party files a court complaint (including counterclaims) pursuant to 21

V.S.A. § 495b alleging sexual harassment, the party filing the complaint must provide the Vermont Attorney General or the Human Rights Commission with:

  1. notice of the complaint and
  2. submit a copy of the complaint, as filed with the court.

The notice and complaint must be provided within fourteen (14) days of filing with the court.

The notice and complaint may be provided electronically or via regular mail, as follows:

If the complaint is filed against the State of Vermont:

Vermont Human Rights Commission 14-16 Baldwin Street

Montpelier, Vermont 05633-6301 human.rights@vermont.gov

(800) 416-2010 (toll free in Vermont), or (802) 828-1625

 

If the complaint is filed against any other entity (including all private employers):

Vermont Office of the Attorney General, Civil Rights Unit 109 State Street

Montpelier, Vermont 05609-1001 ago.civilrights@vermont.gov

(888) 745-9195 (toll free in Vermont) or (802) 828-3657

 

For more information regarding the new filing requirement, please contact:

Emily Chamberlain Adams, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Unit (802) 828-3177, emily.adams@vermont.gov

 

Jocelyn Bolduc, Executive Staff Assistant/Case Manager, Vermont Human Rights Commission (802) 828- 1625, jocelyn.bolduc@vermont.gov

 

§ 495n. SEXUAL HARASSMENT COMPLAINTS; NOTICE TO ATTORNEY GENERAL AND HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

  1. A person that files a claim of sexual harassment pursuant to section 495b of this subchapter in which neither the Attorney General nor the Human Rights Commission is a party shall provide notice of the action to the Attorney General and the Human Rights Commission within 14 days after filing the complaint. The notice may be submitted electronically and shall include a copy of the filed complaint.

(b)(1) Upon receiving notice of a complaint in which the State is a party, the Human Rights Commission may elect to:

  1. intervene in the action to seek remedies pursuant to section 495b of this subchapter; or
  2. without becoming a party to the action, file a statement with the court addressing questions of law related to the provisions of this subchapter.
  1. Upon receiving notice of a complaint in which the State is not a party, the Attorney General may elect to:
    1. intervene in the action to seek remedies pursuant to section 495b of this subchapter; or
    2. without becoming a party to the action, file a statement with the court addressing questions of law related to the provisions of this subchapter.