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H.478

Introduced by   Representatives Lippert of Hinesburg, Grad of Moretown, Kiss of Burlington, Botzow of Pownal, Brooks of Montpelier, Clarkson of Woodstock, Deen of Westminster, Donovan of Burlington, Fisher of Lincoln, Gervais of Enosburg, Head of S. Burlington, Jerman of Essex, Johnson of South Hero, Kainen of Hartford, Komline of Dorset, Kupersmith of S. Burlington, Larson of Burlington, Lorber of Burlington, Marek of Newfane, McCullough of Williston, Pugh of S. Burlington, Seibert of Norwich, Shand of Weathersfield and Sweaney of Windsor, Zuckerman of Burlington

Referred to Committee on

Date:

Subject:  Discrimination; gender identity or expression

Statement of purpose:  This bill proposes to add gender identity or expression to the list of protected classes in various statutes.

AN ACT RELATING TO DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF GENDER IDENTITY OR EXPRESSION

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


Sec. 1.  3 V.S.A. § 961 is amended to read:

§ 961.  Employers

It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer:

(1)  To interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed by section 903 of this title, or by any other law, rule, or regulation.

(2)  To dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of any employee organization or contribute financial or other support to it; provided that an employer shall not be prohibited from permitting employees to confer with the employer during working hours without loss of time or pay.

(3)  By discrimination in regard to hire and tenure of employment or any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any employee organization.

(4)  To discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee has filed charges or complaints or given testimony under this chapter.

(5)  To refuse to bargain collectively with representatives of the employees subject to the provisions of subchapter 3 of this chapter.

(6)  To discriminate against an employee on account of race, color, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.

(7)  To request or require an applicant, prospective employee or employee to have an HIV-related blood test as a condition of employment.

(8)  To discriminate against an applicant, prospective employee, or employee on the basis of a person’s having a positive test result from an HIV‑related blood test.

Sec. 2.  3 V.S.A. § 963 is amended to read:

§ 963.  Membership; employees’ rights

An employee organization entering into an agreement shall not:

(1)  Discriminate against a person seeking or holding membership therein on account of race, color, creed, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or national origin.

(2)  Penalize a member for exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the state of Vermont.

(3)  Cause or attempt to cause the discharge from employment of employees who refuse membership therein because of religious beliefs.

Sec. 3.  3 V.S.A. § 1001 is amended to read:

§ 1001.  Grievances; applicants and excluded personnel

(a)  Persons who are applicants for state employment in the classified service and classified employees in their initial probationary period and any extension or extensions thereof may appeal to the state labor relations board if they believe themselves discriminated against on account of their race, color, creed, religion, disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or national origin.

(b)  Permanent classified employees excluded from bargaining units shall be deemed to have the right of appeal in the same manner and to the same extent as those employees represented by a bargaining representative except that they may not be represented by a bargaining representative.

(c)  Any dispute concerning the amount of a collective bargaining service fee may be grieved to the state labor relations board in accordance with the board’s rules concerning grievances.

Sec. 4.  3 V.S.A. § 1013 is amended to read:

§ 1013.  Subjects for bargaining

All matters relating to the relationship between the employer and employees are subject to collective bargaining, to the extent those matters are not prescribed or controlled by law, including:

(1)  Wages, salaries, benefits, and reimbursement practices relating to necessary expenses and the limits of reimbursable expenses.

(2)  Minimum hours per week.

(3)  Working conditions.

(4)  Overtime compensation and related matters.

(5)  Leave compensation and related matters.

(6)  Reduction-in-force procedures.

(7)  Grievance procedures.

(8)  Terms of coverage and amount of employee financial participation in insurance programs.

(9)  Rules for personnel administration of employees provided the rules are not discriminatory in regard to an applicant’s race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, religion, or disability.

(10)  A collective bargaining service fee.

Sec. 5.  3 V.S.A. § 1026 is amended to read:

§ 1026.  Employers

It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer:

(1)  To interfere with, restrain or coerce employees in the exercise of rights guaranteed by section 1012 of this title or by any other law.

(2)  To dominate or interfere with the formation or administration of an employee organization or contribute financial or other support to it.  However, an employer may confer with employees during working hours without loss of time or pay.

(3)  To discriminate in hiring or tenure of employment or in regard to any term or condition of employment to encourage or discourage membership in any employee organization.

(4)  To discharge or otherwise discriminate against an employee because the employee filed a charge or complaint or gave testimony under this chapter.

(5)  To refuse to bargain collectively with a representative of its employees.

(6)  To discriminate against an employee on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, religion, or disability.

(7)  To request or require an applicant, prospective employee or employee to have an HIV-related blood test as a condition of employment.

(8)  To discriminate against an applicant, prospective employee or employee on the basis of a person’s having a positive test result from an HIV‑related blood test.

Sec. 6.  3 V.S.A. § 1028 is amended to read:

§ 1028.  Membership; employee rights

An employee organization entering into an agreement shall not:

(1)  Discriminate against a member or applicant for membership on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, religion, or disability.

(2)  Penalize a member for exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the state of Vermont.


Sec. 7.  3 V.S.A. § 1041 is amended to read:

§ 1041.  Grievances; applicants and excluded personnel

(a)  An applicant for employment in a position included in the bargaining unit and employees who are in the initial or extended probationary period may appeal to the board if they believe they were discriminated against on account of race, color, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, national origin, religion, or disability.

(b)  Grievance rights and personnel rules for permanent employees who are not included in bargaining units shall be established and governed by the judiciary department personnel policies as adopted under Administrative Order No. 3 of the supreme court.

(c)  Any dispute concerning the amount of a collective bargaining service fee may be grieved to the board in accordance with the rules of the board.

Sec. 8.  8 V.S.A. § 4724(7) is amended to read:

§ 4724.  Unfair methods of competition or unfair or

              deceptive acts or practices defined

The following are hereby defined as unfair methods of competition or unfair or deceptive acts or practices in the business of insurance:

* * *

(7)  Unfair discrimination; arbitrary underwriting action. 

(A)  Making or permitting any unfair discrimination between insureds of the same class and equal risk in the rates charged for any contract of insurance, or in the dividends or other benefits payable thereon, or in any other of the terms and conditions of such contracts.

(B)  Making or permitting unfair discrimination against an applicant or an insured, on the basis of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or marital status of the applicant or insured, with regard to:

(i)  Underwriting standards and practices or eligibility requirements; or

(ii)  Rates; however, nothing in this subdivision shall prevent any person who contracts to insure another from setting rates for such insurance in accordance with reasonable classifications based on relevant actuarial data or actual cost experience in accordance with section 4656 of this title.

(C)(i)  Inquiring or investigating, directly or indirectly as to an applicant’s, an insured’s or a beneficiary’s sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression in an application for insurance coverage, or in an investigation conducted by an insurer, reinsurer, or insurance support organization in connection with an application for such coverage, or using information about gender, marital status, medical history, occupation, residential living arrangements, beneficiaries, zip codes, or other territorial designations to determine sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression;

(ii)  Using sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or beneficiary designation in the underwriting process or in the determination of insurability;

(iii)  Making adverse underwriting decisions because medical records or a report from an insurance support organization reveal that an applicant or insured has demonstrated AIDS-related concerns by seeking counseling from health care professionals;

(iv)  Making adverse underwriting decisions on the basis of the existence of nonspecific blood code information received from the medical information bureau or a national data bank, but this prohibition shall not bar investigation in response to such a nonspecific blood code;

(v)  The provisions of this subdivision (C) shall not be construed to prohibit an insurer from requesting an applicant or insured to take an HIV‑related test on the basis of the health history or current condition of health of the applicant or insured in accordance with the provisions of subdivision (20) of this section.

(D)  Making or permitting any unfair discrimination against any individual by conditioning insurance rates, the provision or renewal of insurance coverage, or other conditions of insurance based on medical information, including the results of genetic testing, where there is not a relationship between the medical information and the cost of the insurance risk that the insurer would assume by insuring the proposed insured. In demonstrating the relationship, the insurer can rely on actual or reasonably anticipated experience.  As used in this subdivision, “genetic testing” shall be defined as the term is defined in section subdivision 9331(7) of Title 18.

Sec. 9.  9 V.S.A. § 4502(a) is amended to read:

§ 4502.  Public accommodations

(a)  An owner or operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent or employee of such owner or operator shall not, because of the race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, gender identity or expression, or sexual orientation of any person, refuse, withhold from or deny to that person any of the accommodations, advantages, facilities and privileges of the place of public accommodation.

Sec. 10.  9 V.S.A. § 2362 is amended to read:

§ 2362.  Prohibition on discrimination based on sex,

              sexual orientation, gender identity or                                   expression, marital status, race, color, religion,           national origin, age, or handicapping condition

No seller shall discriminate against any buyer or prospective buyer who desires to establish a retail installment contract because of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or handicapping condition of the buyer.

Sec. 11.  9 V.S.A. § 2410 is amended to read:

§ 2410.  Prohibition on discrimination based on sex,

sexual orientation, gender identity or   

expression, marital status, race, color, religion,

national origin, age, or handicapping condition

No seller shall discriminate against any buyer or prospective buyer who desires to establish a retail installment contract or retail charge agreement because of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or handicapping condition of the buyer.

Sec. 12.  9 V.S.A. § 2488 is amended to read:

§ 2488.  Prohibition on discrimination based on sex,

              sexual orientation, gender identity or

  expression, marital status, race, color, religion,

  national origin, age, Or handicapping condition

No person shall discriminate against any lessee or prospective lessee who has entered into an agricultural finance lease, or who desires to enter into an agricultural finance lease, because of the sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, or handicapping condition of the lessee.

Sec. 13.  9 V.S.A. § 4503 is amended to read:

§ 4503.  Unfair housing practices

(a)  It shall be unlawful for any person:

(1)  To refuse to sell or rent, or refuse to negotiate for the sale or rental of, or otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling or other real estate to any person because of the race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(2)  To discriminate against, or to harass any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of the sale or rental of a dwelling or other real estate, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection therewith, because of the race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(3)  To make, print, or publish, or cause to be made, printed, or published any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling or other real estate that indicates any preference, limitation, or discrimination based on race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(4)  To represent to any person because of the race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance, that any dwelling or other real estate is not available for inspection, sale or rental when the dwelling or real estate is in fact so available.

(5)  To coerce, intimidate, threaten, or interfere with any person in the exercise or enjoyment of any right granted or protected by this chapter or for having filed a charge, testified or cooperated in any investigation or enforcement action pursuant to chapter 139 or 141 of this title.

(6)  To discriminate against any person in the making or purchasing of loans or providing other financial assistance for real estate related transactions or in the selling, brokering, or appraising of residential real property, because of the race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(7)  To engage in blockbusting practices, for profit, which may include inducing or attempting to induce a person to sell or rent a dwelling by representations regarding the entry into the neighborhood of a person or persons of a particular race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person intends to occupy a dwelling with one or more minor children, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(8)  To deny any person access to or membership or participation in any multiple listing service, real estate brokers’ organization, or other service, organization or facility relating to the business of selling or renting dwellings, or to discriminate against any person in the terms or conditions of such access, membership, or participation, on account of race, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, religious creed, color, national origin, or handicap of a person, or because a person is a recipient of public assistance.

(9)  To discriminate in the sale or rental of a dwelling because a person relies upon aids such as attendants, specially trained animals, wheelchairs, or similar appliances or devices but the owner shall not be required to modify or alter the building in any way in order to comply with this chapter.  An owner shall permit, at the expense of the handicapped person, reasonable modifications of existing premises occupied or to be occupied by the handicapped person if the modifications are necessary to afford the person full enjoyment of the premises.  The owner may, if reasonable, require the person to agree to restore the premises to the condition that existed before the modification, reasonable wear and tear excepted, but the owner may not require an additional security deposit for this purpose.

(10)  To refuse to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services when such accommodations may be necessary to afford a handicapped person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling unit, including public and common areas.

(11)  To fail to comply with provisions or rules pertaining to covered multifamily dwellings, as defined in section 271 of Title 21, pursuant to chapter 4 of Title 21.

(b)  The provisions of subsection (a) of this section with respect to discrimination in sales and rentals of dwellings on the basis of age or on the basis of a person’s intention to occupy with one or more minor children shall not apply to the sale or rental of a dwelling in a housing complex:

(1)  intended for, and solely occupied by, persons 62 years of age or older; or

(2)  intended and operated for occupancy by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit.  This subsection shall only apply if the following conditions are met:

(A)  The housing complex has significant facilities and services specifically designed to meet the physical or social needs of older persons, or if it is not practicable to provide those facilities and services, that the housing complex is necessary to provide important housing opportunities for older persons; and

(B)  At least 80 percent of the units are occupied by at least one person 55 years of age or older per unit, except that a newly constructed housing complex in which first occupancy will begin after enactment of this act need not comply with this subsection until 25 percent of the units are occupied; and

(C)  There are written and enforced policies and procedures which demonstrate an intent by the owner or manager to provide housing for persons 55 years of age or older.

(3)  established under any federal or state program specifically designed and operated to assist elderly persons, as defined in the federal or state program.

(c)  The housing exemption in subsection (b) of this section shall not fail to apply due to persons residing in such dwellings as of July 1, 1989, who do not meet the age requirements of subsection (b) of this section, provided that new occupants of such dwellings meet the age requirements of that subsection, and that unoccupied units as of July 1, 1989 are reserved for occupancy by persons who meet the age requirements of that subsection.

Sec. 14.  10 V.S.A. § 601(11) is amended to read:

§ 601.  Definitions

The following words and terms, unless the context clearly indicates a different meaning, shall have the following meaning:

* * *

(11)  “Persons and families of low and moderate income” means persons and families irrespective of race, creed, national origin, sex or, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression deemed by the agency to require such assistance as is made available by this chapter on account of insufficient personal or family income, taking into consideration, without limitation, such factors as:

(A)  The amount of the total income of such persons and families available for housing needs;

(B)  The size of the family;

(C)  The cost and condition of residential housing available;

(D)  The cost and availability of mortgage loans on residential housing in the state;

(E)  The eligibility of such persons and families for federal housing assistance of any type predicated upon a low-income low income basis or upon the basis of the age of such persons;

(F)  The ability of such persons and families to compete successfully in the normal housing market and to pay the amounts at which private enterprise is providing decent, safe, and sanitary housing, and deemed by the agency therefore to be eligible to occupy residential housing constructed and financed, wholly or in part, with insured or guaranteed construction loans or insured or guaranteed mortgages, or with other public or private assistance other than as provided by this chapter.

Sec. 15.  16 V.S.A. § 11(26) is amended to read:

§ 11.  Classifications and definitions

* * *

(26)(A)  "Harassment" means an incident or incidents of verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct based on or motivated by a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or disability that has the purpose or effect of objectively and substantially undermining and detracting from or interfering with a student's educational performance or access to school resources or creating an objectively intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.

(B)  "Harassment" includes conduct which violates subdivision (A) of this subdivision (26) and constitutes one or more of the following:

(i)  Sexual harassment, which means conduct that includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal, written, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature when one or both of the following occur:

(I)  Submission to that conduct is made either explicitly or implicitly a term or condition of a student's education.

(II)  Submission to or rejection of such conduct by a student is used as a component of the basis for decisions affecting that student.

(ii)  Racial harassment, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived race or color, and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, racial slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, and taunts on manner of speech and negative references to racial customs.

(iii)  Harassment of members of other protected categories, which means conduct directed at the characteristics of a student's or a student's family member's actual or perceived creed, national origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or disability and includes the use of epithets, stereotypes, slurs, comments, insults, derogatory remarks, gestures, threats, graffiti, display, or circulation of written or visual material, taunts on manner of speech, and negative references to customs related to any of these protected categories.

Sec. 16.  21 V.S.A. § 495 is amended to read:

§ 495.  Unlawful employment practice

(a)  It shall be unlawful employment practice, except where a bona fide occupational qualification requires persons of a particular race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, ancestry, place of birth, age, or physical or mental condition:

(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, gender identity or expression, place of birth, or age or against a qualified disabled individual;

(2)  For any person seeking employees or for any employment agency or labor organization to cause to be printed, published, or circulated any notice or advertisement relating to employment or membership indicating any preference, limitation, specification, or discrimination based upon race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, place of birth, age, or 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, gender identity or expression, place of birth, or age or against a qualified disabled individual;

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

(5)  For any employer, employment agency, or labor organization to discharge or in any other manner discriminate against any employee because such employee has lodged a complaint of discriminatory acts or practices or has cooperated with the attorney general or a state’s attorney in an investigation of such practices, or is about to lodge a complaint or cooperate in an investigation, or because such employer believes that such employee may lodge a complaint or cooperate with the attorney general or state’s attorney in an investigation of discriminatory acts or practices;

(6)  For any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or person seeking employees to discriminate against, indicate a preference or limitation, refuse properly to classify or refer, or to limit or segregate membership, on the basis of a person’s having a positive test result from an HIV-related blood test;

(7)  For any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or person seeking employees to request or require an applicant, prospective employee, employee, prospective member, or member to have an HIV-related blood test as a condition of employment or membership, classification, placement, or referral.

* * *

(f)  The provisions of this section prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression shall not be construed to change the definition of family or dependent in an employee benefit plan.

Sec. 17.  21 V.S.A. § 1621 is amended to read:

§ 1621.  Unfair labor practices

(a)  It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer:

* * *

(7)  To discriminate against an employee on account of race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, age, or disability.

* * *

(b)  It shall be an unfair labor practice for a labor organization or its agents:

* * *

(8)  Compulsory membership; employees’ rights.  A labor organization entering into an agreement requiring a person’s membership therein as a condition of employment by the employer shall not:  To enter into an agreement with a labor organization that requires membership as a condition of employment by the employer if the labor organization:

(A)  discriminate discriminates against a person an individual seeking or holding membership therein on account of race, color, disability, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, or national origin.

(B)  penalize penalizes a member for exercising a right guaranteed by the Constitution or laws of the United States or the state of Vermont;

(C)  cause causes the discharge from employment of employees who refuse membership therein because of religious beliefs.

Sec. 18.  21 V.S.A. § 1726(a) is amended to read:

§ 1726.  Unfair labor practices

(a)  It shall be an unfair labor practice for an employer:

* * *

(7)  To discriminate against an employee on account of race, color, religion, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, age, or political affiliation.

* * *


Sec. 19.  8 V.S.A. § 10403 is amended to read:

§ 10403.  PROHIBITION ON DISCRIMINATION BASED ON SEX,

MARITAL STATUS, RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, NATIONAL  

ORIGIN, AGE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION, GENDER IDENTITY

OR EXPRESSION, OR HANDICAPPING CONDITION

(a)  No financial institution shall discriminate against any applicant for credit services on the basis of the sex, marital status, race, color, religion, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression,  or handicapping condition of the applicant, provided the applicant has the legal capacity to contract.

* * *



Published by:

The Vermont General Assembly
115 State Street
Montpelier, Vermont


www.leg.state.vt.us