Title 21: Labor
Chapter 17: UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION
21 V.S.A. § 1314. Reports and records; separation information; determination of eligibility; failure to report employment information; disclosure of information to other state agencies to investigate misclassification or miscoding
§ 1314. Reports and records; separation information; determination of eligibility; failure to report employment information; disclosure of information to other state agencies to investigate misclassification or miscoding
(a) The commissioner may require any employing unit to keep such true and accurate records and make such reports covering persons employed by it respecting employment, wages, hours, unemployment and related matters as the commissioner deems reasonably necessary for the effective administration of this chapter. Such records shall be open to inspection and subject to being copied by the commissioner or his or her authorized representatives at any reasonable time and as often as may be necessary.
(b) On request of the commissioner, an employing unit shall report, within 10 days of the mailing or personal delivery of the request, employment and separation information with respect to a claimant and the wages paid to a claimant.
(c) If an employing unit fails to comply with the provisions of subsection (b) of this section and section 1314a of this title, the commissioner shall determine the benefit rights of a claimant upon such information as is available. Prompt notice in writing of the determination shall be given to the employing unit. The determination shall be final with respect to a noncomplying employer as to any charges against its experience-rating record for benefits paid to the claimant before the week following the receipt of the employing unit's reply. The employing unit's experience rating record shall not be relieved of these charges, notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, unless the amount of benefits is recovered from the claimant, or unless the commissioner determines that failure to comply was due to unavoidable accident or mistake.
(d)(1) Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, information obtained from any employing unit or individual in the administration of this chapter, and determinations as to the benefit rights of any individual shall be held confidential and shall not be disclosed or open to public inspection in any manner revealing the individual's or employing unit's identity, nor be admissible in evidence in any action or proceeding other than one arising out of this chapter, or to support or facilitate an investigation by a public agency identified in subdivision (e)(1) of this section.
(2) An individual or his or her duly authorized agent may be supplied with information from those records to the extent necessary for the proper presentation of his or her claims for benefits or to inform him or her of his or her existing or prospective rights to benefits; an employing unit may be furnished with such information as may be deemed proper, within the discretion of the commissioner, to enable it to fully discharge its obligations and safeguard its rights under this chapter.
(3) Automatic data processing services and systems and programming services within the department of labor shall be the responsibility and under the direct control of the commissioner in the administration of this chapter and chapter 15 of this title.
(4) Notwithstanding the provisions in subdivision (3) of this section, the department of labor shall, at the request of the agency of administration, perform such services for other departments and agencies of the state as are within the capacity of its data processing equipment and personnel, provided that such services can be accomplished without undue interference with the designated work of the department of labor.
(e)(1) Subject to such restrictions as the board may by regulation prescribe, information from unemployment insurance records may be made available to any public officer or public agency of this or any other state or the federal government dealing with the administration or regulation of relief, public assistance, unemployment compensation, a system of public employment offices, wages and hours of employment, workers' compensation, misclassification or miscoding of workers, occupational safety and health, or a public works program for purposes appropriate to the necessary operation of those offices or agencies. The commissioner may also make information available to colleges, universities, and public agencies of the state for use in connection with research projects of a public service nature, and to the Vermont economic progress council with regard to the administration of 32 V.S.A. chapter 151, subchapter 11E; but no person associated with those institutions or agencies may disclo
se that information in any manner which would reveal the identity of any individual or employing unit from or concerning whom the information was obtained by the commissioner.
(A) The department of labor shall participate in the income and eligibility verification procedures under Federal Public Law 98-369 (The Deficit Reduction Act of 1984) which provides for the exchange of information among state agencies administering federally assisted programs for AFDC, Medicaid, Food Stamps, SSI, Unemployment Compensation and any other state program under a plan approved under Title I, X, XIV, or XVI of the Social Security Act.
(B) The department of labor is designated as the Vermont agency for the collection of wage records on workers covered under this chapter, as required by PL 98-369.
(2)(A)(i) The department of labor shall disclose, upon request, to officers or employees of any state or local child support enforcement agency, any wage information or other information material to the location of an individual, the individual's assets, or the individual's place of employment or other source of income contained in the department's unemployment compensation claim records with respect to an identified individual which is contained in those records.
(ii) The term "state or local child support enforcement agency" means any agency of a state or political subdivision thereof operating pursuant to a plan described in section 454 of the Social Security Act, which has been approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under part D, Title IV of the Social Security Act.
(B) The requesting agency shall agree that information provided under this subsection is to be used only for the following purposes:
(i) establishing and collecting child support obligations from, and locating, individuals owing such obligations which are being enforced pursuant to a plan described in section 454 of the Social Security Act which has been approved by the Secretary of Health and Human Services under part D, Title IV of the Social Security Act; and
(ii) establishing parentage and expediting procedures relating to establishing parentage pursuant to section 466(c)(1) of the Social Security Act as added by section 325(a)(2) of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-193).
(3)(A) The department of labor shall disclose, upon request, to officers and employees of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and any state food stamp agency, with respect to an identified individual, any of the following information which is contained in its records:
(i) wage information;
(ii) whether the individual is receiving, has received, or has made application for unemployment compensation and the amount of any compensation being received or to be received by such individual;
(iii) the current or most recent home address of the individual; and
(iv) whether the individual has refused an offer of employment, and if so, a description of the employment offered and the terms, conditions and rate of pay therefor.
(B) The term "state food stamp agency" means any agency described in section (3)(n)(1) of the Food Stamp Act of 1977 which administers the food stamp program established under such act.
(C) The requesting agency shall agree that such information shall be used only for purposes of determining the applicant's eligibility for benefits, or the amount of benefits, under the food stamp program established under the Food Stamp Act of 1977.
(D) The information shall not be released unless the requesting agency agrees to reimburse the costs involved for furnishing such information.
(E) In addition to the requirements of this subdivision, all other requirements with respect to confidentiality of information obtained in the administration of this chapter and the sanctions imposed for improper disclosure of information obtained in the administration of this chapter shall apply to the use of such information by the officers and employees of any food stamp agency or the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
(4)(A)(i) The department of labor shall disclose, upon request, to officers or employees of any state or local agency charged with administering AFDC, any wage information with respect to an identified individual which is contained in its records, which is necessary for the purpose of determining an individual's eligibility for aid or services or the amount of such aid or services to needy families with children.
(ii) The term "state or local agency charged with administering AFDC" means any such agency administering a plan approved under part A of Title IV of the Social Security Act.
(B) The information requested shall not be released unless the requesting AFDC agency agrees to reimburse the department of labor for the costs involved in furnishing such information.
(C) The requesting agency shall agree that the requested information shall be used only for the purposes authorized in subdivision (e)(4)(A) of this section.
(5)(A) The department of labor shall disclose to officers or employees of the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) or National New Hire Directory any employment, wage and unemployment compensation claim information contained in its claim records which may be useful in locating an absent parent or the parent's employer solely for purposes of administering the child support enforcement provisions of Title IV of the Social Security Act.
(B) The requesting Federal Parent Locator Service shall agree that the requested information shall be used only for purposes authorized in section 303(h)(1) of the Social Security Act.
(C) The information requested shall not be released unless the requesting Federal Parent Locator Service agrees to reimburse the department of labor for the costs involved in furnishing the requested information.
(6)(A) The department of labor shall disclose, upon request, to officers or employees of the Department of Housing and Urban Development HUD and to representatives of a public housing agency any wage information and unemployment compensation benefit information which is contained in its records with respect to an identified individual applying for or participating in any housing assistance program administered by HUD which is necessary for the purposes of determining the individual's eligibility for benefits or the amount of benefits under a HUD housing assistance program. For the purposes of this subdivision, the term "public housing agency" means any agency described in section 3(b)(6) of the United States Housing Act of 1937 which is authorized to engage in or assist in the development or operation of low income housing.
(B) HUD or the requesting public housing agency shall agree that the requested information shall be used only for purposes of determining individual's eligibility for benefits or the amount of benefits under a HUD housing assistance program and that it will comply with the provisions of 20 C.F.R. section 603.7 and the limitations on the use of the information set forth in section 904(c)(2) of P.L. 100-628.
(C) The information requested shall not be released unless the individual about whom the requested information relates has signed a consent form, approved by the secretary of HUD, which permits the release of the requested information.
(D) The information requested shall not be released unless HUD or the requested public housing agency agrees to reimburse the department of labor for the costs involved in furnishing the requested information.
(7)(A) The department of labor shall disclose, upon request, to officers and employees of the Vermont center for crime victim services, with respect to an identified individual, the name and address of the individual's employer.
(B) The center and the department shall develop an agreement that complies with 20 C.F.R. § 603.6, and the center shall comply with the confidentiality requirements of 20 C.F.R. § 603.7.
(f) Nothing contained in this section shall be deemed to interfere with the disclosure of certain information obtained under this chapter as provided in sections 1315, 1316, and 1317 of this title or to interfere with disclosure to the internal revenue service of the United States department of the treasury or to any state for purposes of the Federal Unemployment Tax Act or for the purposes of taxation of unemployment compensation benefits paid to individuals by this department. Information may be exchanged with the Vermont department of taxes for the purpose of establishing liability of employers for unemployment compensation purposes or identifying employers affected by Vermont tax laws. Information reported to the department of labor may be provided to the Vermont department of taxes for the purposes of assessment and collection of Vermont taxes, including but not limited to identifying nonfilers of the state tax, locating and identifying persons in debt to the department of taxe
s; and verifying eligibility for tax credits, tax adjustments, or other tax benefits.
(g) All written, or oral reports, or other communications, from an employer or his or her workers to each other, or to the commissioner or any of his or her agents, representatives, or employees, made in connection with the requirements and administration of this chapter or the regulations thereunder, shall be absolutely privileged and shall not be made the subject matter or basis for any suit for slander or libel in any court of this state, unless they are false in fact and malicious in intent.
(h) Any employing unit that fails to report employment and separation information with respect to a claimant and wages paid to a claimant required under subsection (b) of this section shall be subject to a penalty of $100.00 for each report not received by the prescribed due date, which penalty shall be collected in the manner provided for the collection of contributions in section 1329 of this title and shall be paid into the contingent fund provided in section 1365 of this title. If the employing unit demonstrates that its failure was due to a reasonable cause, the commissioner may waive the penalty. (Amended 1959, No. 329 (Adj. Sess.), § 22, eff. March 1, 1961; 1961, No. 210, § 15, eff. July 11, 1961; 1965, No. 26, eff. April 14, 1965; 1967, No. 89; 1973, No. 168 (Adj. Sess.); 1975, No. 62, § 1, eff. April 18, 1975; 1979, No. 120 (Adj. Sess.), § 6, eff. Jan. 1, 1980; 1981, No. 66, § 5(a), eff. May 1, 1981; 1981, No. 194 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1985, No. 50, §§ 4, 5; 1987, No. 278 (Adj
. Sess.), § 3, eff. June 21, 1988; 1989, No. 132 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 1, 2; 1991, No. 186 (Adj. Sess.), § 34, eff. May 7, 1992; 1993, No. 177 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 1997, No. 63, §§ 19, 19a, eff. Sept. 1, 1997; 2003, No. 70 (Adj. Sess.), § 63, eff. March 1, 2004; No. 92 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2005, No. 103 (Adj. Sess.), § 3, eff. April 5, 2006; No. 184 (Adj. Sess.), § 14; 2009, No. 54, § 69a, eff. June 1, 2009; 2009, No. 124 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; No. 142 (Adj. Sess.), § 6; 2011, No. 50, § 7, eff. May 26, 2011.)