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NO. 103. AN ACT RELATING TO CORRECTIONS REGARDING PROHIBITION OF DISCRIMINATION IN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES.

(S.234)

It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:

Sec. 1. 21 V.S.A. § 495(a)(1), (3) and (4) are amended to read:

(1) For any employer, employment agency or labor organization to discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, place of birth, or age or against a qualified *[disabled]* individual with a disability;

(3) For any employment agency to fail or refuse to classify properly or refer for employment or to otherwise discriminate against any individual because of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, place of birth, or age or against a qualified *[disabled]* individual with a disability;

(4) For any labor organization, because of race, color, religion ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, place of birth, or age to discriminate against any individual or against a qualified *[disabled]* individual with a disability or to limit, segregate or qualify its membership;

Sec. 2. 21 V.S.A. § 495d is amended to read:

§ 495d. DEFINITIONS

For the purposes of this subchapter:

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(5) "*[Handicapped individual]* Individual with a disability" means any natural person who

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(6) "Qualified *[handicapped]* individual with a disability" means an individual with a *[handicap]* disability who is capable of performing the essential functions of the job or jobs for which *[he]* the individual is being considered with reasonable accommodation to *[his handicap]* the disability.

A qualified *[handicapped]* individual with a disability does not include any individual who is an alcoholic or drug abuser whose current use of alcohol or drugs prevents such individual from performing the duties of the job in question or whose employment, by reason of such current alcohol or drug abuse, would constitute a direct threat to property or the safety of others.

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(8) "Substantially limits" means the degree that the impairment affects an individual's employability. *[A handicapped]* An individual with a disability who is likely to experience difficulty in securing, retaining, or advancing in employment would be considered substantially limited.

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(12) "Reasonable accommodation" means the changes and modifications which can be made in the structure of a job or in the manner in which a job is performed unless it would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Reasonable accommodation may include:

(A) making the facilities used by the employees, including common areas used by all employees such as hallways, restrooms, cafeterias and lounges, readily accessible to and usable by *[handicapped persons]* individuals with disabilities, and

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(C) factors to be considered in determining whether an undue hardship is imposed by the requirement that reasonable accommodation be made *[to an individual's handicapped condition]* for an individual with a disability include*[, but are not limited to]*:

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Sec. 3. 21 V.S.A. § 495f is amended to read:

§ 495f. EXEMPTIONS

Notwithstanding any other provision of this subchapter, it is not unlawful discrimination on the basis of age or *[handicapping condition]* disability for any employer, employment agency or labor organization to observe the terms of a bona fide seniority system or any bona fide employee benefit plan, such as a retirement, pension or life or health insurance plan, any of which is not a subterfuge to evade the purposes of this subchapter. No employee benefit plan, however, excuses the failure to hire any individual. No seniority system or employee benefit plan shall require or permit the involuntary retirement of any individual because of age. Mandatory retirement on account of age, necessitated under a police or firefighter retirement system, is specifically authorized.

Approved: May 2, 2000