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Vermont Background Check Laws

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Vermont Drug Screen Compliance

Vermont Employment Screening laws

Employers that are either located in Vermont or hiring Vermont residents must abide by the Federal FCRA, and applicable Vermont state employment laws.

This page was created to provide a simple explanation of what an end-user of a background screening report (also known as consumer report) can use in order to be in compliance with Vermont state laws. This page also contains steps an end-user must take to stay in compliance with Vermont state laws.

Please keep in mind that the EEOC must always be taken into consideration when a hiring decision is to be made. The EEOC has provided guidance on how employers can use criminal records during the hiring process. This regulation was issued on April 25, 2012. The EEOC requires employers to individually review each applicant or employee that may be disqualified due to a criminal record. This also follows the regulations set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Additionally, the EEOC wants to undertake an adverse action process similar to that of the FCRA. They want to add a pre-adverse action process of their own. Although employers already have an adverse action process that is specific to information contained in consumer reports, the EEOC's adverse action process may be different.

The information that is provided on this page does not discuss requirements under the EEOC nor does it explain how to use criminal records that fall under the regulation of the EEOC. It is suggested that compliance with the EEOC be discussed with legal counsel.

For more detailed information on Vermont state laws, please consult your legal counsel.

Background Check Law Ban the Box Law Court Fee Summary of Rights

Employment Background Check Laws In Vermont:

Vermont Statutes §21-495: Unlawful employment practice, and §21-495j: Criminal history records; employment applications.

§ 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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;

(8) For any employer, employment agency, labor organization, or person seeking employees to discriminate between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees of one sex at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the other sex for equal work that requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and is performed under similar working conditions. An employer who is paying wages in violation of this section shall not reduce the wage rate of any other employee in order to comply with this subsection.

(A) An employer may pay different wage rates under this subsection when the differential wages are made pursuant to:

(i) A seniority system.

(ii) A merit system.

(iii) A system in which earnings are based on quantity or quality of production.

(iv) Any factor other than sex.

(B) No employer may do any of the following:

(i) Require, as a condition of employment, that an employee refrain from disclosing the amount of his or her wages.

(ii) Require an employee to sign a waiver or other document that purports to deny the employee the right to disclose the amount of his or her wages.

(iii) Discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages.

(b) The provisions of this section shall not be construed to limit the rights of employers to discharge employees for good cause shown.

(c) The provisions of this section prohibiting discrimination on the basis of age shall apply for the benefit of persons 18 years of age or older.

(d)(1) An employee shall not have a cause of action in negligence for any injury occurring to the employee on the account of an employer complying with subdivisions (a)(6) and (7) of this section.

(2) A person shall not have a cause of action in negligence for any injury occurring to the person on the account of an employer complying with subdivisions (a)(6) and (7) of this section.

(e) The provisions of this section prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity shall not be construed to prohibit or prevent any religious or denominational institution or organization, or any organization operated for charitable or educational purposes, which is operated, supervised, or controlled by or in connection with a religious organization, from giving preference to persons of the same religion or denomination or from taking any action with respect to matters of employment which is calculated by the organization to promote the religious principles for which it is established or maintained.

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

(g) Notwithstanding any provision of this subchapter, an employer shall not be prohibited from establishing and enforcing reasonable workplace policies to address matters related to employees’ gender identity, including permitting an employer to establish a reasonable dress code for the workplace.

 

§ 495j. Criminal history records; employment applications.

(a) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, an employer shall not request criminal history record information on its initial employee application form. An employer may inquire about a prospective employee’s criminal history record during an interview or once the prospective employee has been deemed otherwise qualified for the position.

(b)(1) An employer may inquire about criminal convictions on an initial employee application form if the following conditions are met:

(A)(i) the prospective employee is applying for a position for which any federal or State law or regulation creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for one or more types of criminal offenses; or

(ii) the employer or an affiliate of the employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or State law or regulation not to employ an individual, in either one or more positions, who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses; and

(B) the questions on the application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the disqualification or obligation.

(2) An employer shall be permitted to inquire about criminal convictions on an initial employee application form pursuant to subdivision (1) of this subsection even if the federal or State law or regulation creating an obligation for the employer or its affiliate not to employ an individual who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses also permits the employer or its affiliate to obtain a waiver that would allow the employer or its affiliate to employ such an individual.

(c) If an employer inquires about a prospective employee’s criminal history record information, the prospective employee, if still eligible for the position under applicable federal or State law, must be afforded an opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions, including postconviction rehabilitation.

(d) An employer who violates the provisions of this section shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $100.00 for each violation.

(e) As used in this section:

(1) “Criminal history record” has the same meaning as set forth in 20 V.S.A. § 2056a.

(2) “Employee” has the same meaning as set forth in section 495d of this chapter.

(3) “Employer” has the same meaning as set forth in section 495d of this chapter.

Ninja's summary

Employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form. Inquiries into criminal history can only be made when the applicant is deemed qualified for the position. However, the employer must also “afford the applicant an opportunity to explain the information and circumstances regarding any convictions including post-conviction rehabilitation.”

Vermont Statutes §33-6914(b): Access to criminal records.

(a) The commissioner may obtain from the Vermont crime information center the record of convictions of any person to the extent that the commissioner has determined by rule that such information is necessary to protect vulnerable adults.

(b) An employer may ask the commissioner to obtain from the Vermont crime information center the record of convictions of a person who is a current employee, volunteer or contractor, or a person to whom the employer has given a conditional offer of a contract, volunteer position, or employment. The request shall be in writing and shall be accompanied by a release by the current or prospective contractor or employee. If the person has a record of convictions, the commissioner shall inform the employer of the date and type of conviction.

(c) A person or organization serving vulnerable adults by assisting with employer functions, offering, providing, or arranging for home sharing, personal care services, developmental services, or mental health services for vulnerable adults, may submit a request to the commissioner concerning an individual who has applied to provide such services or an individual who is already so engaged. The request shall be in writing, and shall be accompanied by a release from the individual applying for or already providing such services. If the individual has a record of convictions, the commissioner shall inform the person or organization submitting the request of the date and type of conviction.

(d) The commissioner of health, or the commissioner’s designee, for purposes related to oversight and monitoring of persons who are served by or compensated with funds provided by the department of health, may ask the Vermont crime information center for the record of convictions of a person who is a current employee, volunteer or contractor, or a person to whom the employer has given a conditional offer of a contract, volunteer position, or employment. If the individual has a record of convictions, the Vermont crime information center shall inform the commissioner, or the commissioner’s designee, of the date and type of conviction.

(e) Information released to an employer under this section shall not be released or disclosed by the employer to any person. Any person who violates this subsection shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(f) Volunteers shall be considered employees for purposes of this section.

(g) As used in this section, “commissioner” means the commissioner of the department of disabilities, aging, and independent living or the commissioner of health or the commissioner’s designees.

Ninja's summary

Employers hiring individuals to work with vulnerable adults may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form. Inquiries into criminal history can only be made after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment.

Vermont Statutes §21-301: Medical examination, expense.

It shall be unlawful for any employer, as defined in section 302 of this title, to require any employee or applicant for employment to pay the cost of a medical examination as a condition of employment.

Ninja's summary

Employers are prohibited from requiring any applicant to pay for, and provide, any of their own medical examinations as a condition of employment.

Vermont Statutes §9-2480e: Consumer consent.

(a) A person shall not obtain the credit report of a consumer unless:

(1) the report is obtained in response to the order of a court having jurisdiction to issue such an order; or

(2) the person has secured the consent of the consumer, and the report is used for the purpose consented to by the consumer.

(b) Credit reporting agencies shall adopt reasonable procedures to ensure maximum possible compliance with subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to affect:

(1) the ability of a person who has secured the consent of the consumer pursuant to subdivision (a)(2) of this section to include in his or her request to the consumer permission to also obtain credit reports, in connection with the same transaction or extension of credit, for the purpose of reviewing the account, increasing the credit line on the account, for the purpose of taking collection action on the account, or for other legitimate purposes associated with the account; and

(2) the use of credit information for the purpose of prescreening, as defined and permitted from time to time by the Federal Trade Commission.

Ninja's summary

All users of a consumer report, not just the employer or end user, must obtain consent of the applicant before procuring such a report. This standard applies to all consumer reports including credit reports.

Cal. Labor Code 222.5

No person shall withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any prospective employee or applicant for employment to pay, any fee for, or cost of, any pre-employment medical or physical examination taken as a condition of employment, nor shall any person withhold or deduct from the compensation of any employee, or require any employee to pay any fee for, or costs of, medical or physical examinations required by any law or regulation of federal, state or local governments or agencies thereof.

Ninja's summary

An employer cannot require an applicant to pay the costs associated with an employment drug screening

Vermont Statutes §21-495i. Employment based on credit information; prohibitions.

(a) As used in this section:

(1) “Confidential financial information” means sensitive financial information of commercial value that a customer or client of the employer gives explicit authorization for the employer to obtain, process, and store and that the employer entrusts only to managers or employees as a necessary function of their job duties.

(2) “Credit history” means information obtained from a third party, whether or not contained in a credit report, that reflects or pertains to an individual’s prior or current:

(A) borrowing or repaying behavior, including the accumulation, payment, or discharge of financial obligations; or

(B) financial condition or ability to meet financial obligations, including debts owed, payment history, savings or checking account balances, or savings or checking account numbers.

(3) “Credit report” has the same meaning as in 9 V.S.A. § 2480a.

(b) An employer shall not:

(1) Fail or refuse to hire or recruit; discharge; or otherwise discriminate against an individual with respect to employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment because of the individual’s credit report or credit history.

(2) Inquire about an applicant or employee’s credit report or credit history.

(c)(1) An employer is exempt from the provisions of subsection (b) of this section if one or more of the following conditions are met:

(A) The information is required by State or federal law or regulation.

(B) The position of employment involves access to confidential financial information.

(C) The employer is a financial institution as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 11101(32) or a credit union as defined in 8 V.S.A. § 30101(5).

(D) The position of employment is that of a law enforcement officer as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 2358, emergency medical personnel as defined in 24 V.S.A. § 2651(6), or a firefighter as defined in 20 V.S.A. § 3151(3).

(E) The position of employment requires a financial fiduciary responsibility to the employer or a client of the employer, including the authority to issue payments, collect debts, transfer money, or enter into contracts.

(F) The employer can demonstrate that the information is a valid and reliable predictor of employee performance in the specific position of employment.

(G) The position of employment involves access to an employer’s payroll information.

(2) An employer that is exempt from the provisions of subsection (b) of this section may not use an employee’s or applicant’s credit report or history as the sole factor in decisions regarding employment, compensation, or a term, condition, or privilege of employment.

(d) If an employer seeks to obtain or act upon an employee’s or applicant’s credit report or credit history pursuant to subsection (c) of this section that contains information about the employee’s or applicant’s credit score, credit account balances, payment history, savings or checking account balances, or savings or checking account numbers, the employer shall:

(1) Obtain the employee’s or applicant’s written consent each time the employer seeks to obtain the employee’s or applicant’s credit report.

(2) Disclose in writing to the employee or applicant the employer’s reasons for accessing the credit report, and if an adverse employment action is taken based upon the credit report, disclose the reasons for the action in writing. The employee or applicant has the right to contest the accuracy of the credit report or credit history.

(3) Ensure that none of the costs associated with obtaining an employee’s or an applicant’s credit report or credit history are passed on to the employee or applicant.

(4) Ensure that the information in the employee’s or applicant’s credit report or credit history is kept confidential and, if the employment is terminated or the applicant is not hired by the employer, provide the employee or applicant with the credit report or have the credit report destroyed in a secure manner which ensures the confidentiality of the information in the report.

(e) An employer shall not discharge or in any other manner discriminate against an employee or applicant who has filed a complaint of unlawful employment practices in violation of this section or who has cooperated with the Attorney General or a State’s Attorney in an investigation of such practices or who is about to lodge a complaint or cooperate in an investigation or because the employer believes that the employee or applicant may lodge a complaint or cooperate in an investigation.

(f) Notwithstanding subsection (c) of this section, an employer shall not seek or act upon credit reports or credit histories in a manner that results in adverse employment discrimination prohibited by federal or State law, including section 495 of this title and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

(g) This section shall apply only to employers, employees, and applicants for employment and only to employment-related decisions based on a person’s credit history or credit report. It shall not affect the rights of any person, including financial lenders or investors, to obtain credit reports pursuant to other law.

Ninja's summary

Employers are prohibited from inquiring about an employee’s or an applicant’s credit history, or obtaining a credit report. Employers may not make a hiring decision using credit history or a credit report unless they meet one of the following exceptions:

(1) The report is required by state or federal law,

(2) The position involves access to confidential financial information,

(3) The employer is a financial institution or a credit union,

(4) The position is for a law enforcement officer, emergency medical personnel, or a firefighter,

(5) The position requires a high level of financial fiduciary responsibility to the employer or client of the employer,

(6) The employer can prove that the applicant’s credit history is a significant predictor of performance for the specific position, or

(7) The position involves access to an employer’s payroll information.

Additionally, employers shall keep the credit information confidential and will destroy the credit information when an individual is not hired or leaves employment.

Update: Feb 2018

Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA):

The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) is a set of federal guidelines that helps regulate hiring practices. The FCRA was created to ensure privacy, accuracy, and fairness of consumer information. The FCRA accomplishes this by having a set standard for collecting, disseminating, and using consumer information.

Employers obtaining consumer reports for background screening purposes must follow specific procedures. For example, employers must disclose to the candidate what the background screening is, what information it includes, and how they intend to use it. They must obtain the written consent of the candidate before obtaining a background screening. They may not misuse the information contained in the background screening. There are also strict procedures an employer must follow should they decide not to hire a potential candidate based on the information in the background screening.

The purpose of the FCRA is to help protect employers, employees, and potential job candidates.

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

Vermont Ban the Box (§21-495j: Criminal history records; employment applications)

Employers may not inquire into an applicant’s criminal history during the initial stage of the employment process. Questions regarding criminal history may not be on the employment application form. Inquiries into criminal history can only be made when the applicant is deemed qualified for the position. However, the employer must also “afford the applicant an opportunity to explain the information and circumstances regarding any convictions including post-conviction rehabilitation.”


Update: Feb 2018

Disclaimer

This material is time sensitive. Contact us for updates. This information is subject to frequent change through legislative and court action.

All materials in this page and accompanying information are for general educational purposes and not intended to provide legal, scientific or medical advice. Consult with an appropriate professional to address specific issues.

County: Court Fee:
Addison $30.00
Bennington $30.00
Caledonia $30.00
Chittenden $30.00
Essex $30.00
Franklin $30.00
Grand Isle $30.00
Lamoille $30.00
Orange $30.00
Orleans $30.00
Rutland $30.00
Washington $30.00
Windham $30.00
Windsor $30.00

State of Vermont - Consumers

  1. Under Vermont law, you are allowed to receive one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each credit reporting agency.
  2. Under Vermont law, no one may access your credit report without your permission except under the following limited circumstances:
    • In response to a court order;
    • For direct mail offers of credit;
    • If you have given ongoing permission and you have an existing relationship with the person requesting a copy of your credit report;
    • Where the request for a credit report is related to an education loan made, guaranteed, or serviced by the Vermont Student Assistance Corporation;
    • Where the request for a credit report is by the Office of Child Support Services when investigating a child support case;
    • Where the request for a credit report is related to a credit transaction entered into prior to January 1, 1993; and
    • Where the request for a credit report is by the Vermont State Tax Department and is used for the purpose of collecting or investigating delinquent taxes.
  3. If you believe a law regulating consumer credit reporting has been violated, you may file a complaint with the Vermont Attorney General’s Consumer Assistance Program, 104 Morrill Hall, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont 05405.

Vermont Consumers Have the Right to Obtain a Security Freeze

You have a right to place a “security freeze” on your credit report pursuant to 9 V.S.A. section 2480h at no charge if you are a victim of identity theft. All other Vermont consumers will pay a fee to the credit reporting agency of up to $10.00 to place the freeze on their credit report. The security freeze will prohibit a credit reporting agency from releasing any information in your credit report without your express authorization. A security freeze must be requested in writing by certified mail.

The security freeze is designed to help prevent credit, loans, and services from being approved in your name without your consent. However, you should be aware that using a security freeze to take control over who gains access to the personal and financial information in your credit report may delay, interfere with, or prohibit the timely approval of any subsequent request or application you make regarding new loans, credit, mortgage, insurance, government services or payments, rental housing, employment, investment, license, cellular phone, utilities, digital signature, internet credit card transaction, or other services, including an extension of credit at point of sale.

When you place a security freeze on your credit report, within ten business days you will be provided a personal identification number or password to use if you choose to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties or period of time after the freeze is in place. To provide that authorization, you must contact the credit reporting agency and provide all of the following:

  1. The unique personal identification number or password provided by the credit reporting agency.
  2. Proper identification to verify your identity.
  3. The proper information regarding the third party or parties, who are to receive the credit report or the period of time for which the report shall be available to users of the credit report.

A credit reporting agency may charge a fee of up to $5.00 to a consumer who is not a victim of identity theft to remove the freeze on your credit report or authorize the release of your credit report for a specific party, parties, or period of time after the freeze is in place. For a victim of identity theft, there is no charge when the victim submits a copy of a police report, investigative report, or complaint filed with a law enforcement agency about unlawful use of the victim’s personal information by another person.

A credit reporting agency that receives a request from a consumer to temporarily lift a freeze on a credit report shall comply with the request no later than three business days after receiving the request.

A security freeze will not apply to “preauthorized approvals of credit.” If you want to stop receiving preauthorized approvals of credit, you should call 1-888-567-8688.

A security freeze does not apply to a person or entity, or its affiliates, or collection agencies acting on behalf of the person or entity with which you have an existing account that requests information in your credit report for the purposes of reviewing or collecting the account, provided you have previously given your consent to this use of your credit reports. Reviewing the account includes activities related to account maintenance, monitoring, credit
line increases, and account upgrades and enhancements.

You have a right to bring a civil action against someone who violates your rights under the credit reporting laws.

The action can be brought against a credit reporting agency or a user of your credit report.

KEY COURT DECISIONS
Court Case Issue Outcome Employer Limitation/ Action

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