Introduced by Senator Flanagan of Chittenden District, Senator Condos of Chittenden District, Senator Doyle of Washington District, Senator Dunne of Windsor District and Senator Illuzzi of Essex‑Orleans District
Subject: Court procedure; witnesses; employee-union representative privilege
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to create a privilege for communications made by an employee to the employee's union representative for purposes of obtaining counsel, guidance, representation, or information in connection with any labor relations matter.
AN ACT RELATING TO A PRIVILEGE FOR COMMUNICATIONS BETWEEN EMPLOYEES AND UNION REPRESENTATIVES
It is hereby enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Vermont:
Sec. 1. 12 V.S.A. § 1615 is added to read:
§ 1615. EMPLOYEE AND UNION REPRESENTATIVE PRIVILEGE
(a)(1) As used in this section:
(A) “Employee” means:
(i) a person employed in a position for which the Vermont Labor Relations Board or the National Labor Relations Board has certified, or an employer has recognized, an exclusive collective bargaining representative; or
(ii) a person employed in a position for which a collective bargaining organization is being organized or is seeking certification by the Vermont Labor Relations Board or the National Labor Relations Board to represent the person in collective bargaining or grievance proceedings.
(B) “Union representative” means:
(i) an entity, organization, or agent thereof, certified by the Vermont Labor Relations Board or the National Labor Relations Board, or recognized by an employer, to represent employees in collective bargaining or grievance proceedings; or
(ii) an entity, organization, or agent thereof engaged in organizing employees for purposes of collective bargaining or grievance proceedings.
(2) A communication is “confidential” if it is not intended to be disclosed to third persons other than those to whom disclosure is made in furtherance of the rendition of services to the employee or those reasonably necessary for the transmission of the communication.
(b) An employee has the privilege to refuse to disclose and to prevent any other person from disclosing a confidential communication made by the employee to his or her union representative for purposes of obtaining counsel, guidance, representation, or information in connection with any labor relations matter.
(c) The privilege may be claimed by the employee or by the employee’s guardian or conservator. The employee’s union representative at the time of the communication is presumed to have authority to claim the privilege but only on behalf of the employee.
The Vermont General Assembly
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