Rushed Legislation Makes Significant Changes to Labor Laws

Multiple labor bills were hurried through the Senate Economic Development Committee to meet the crossover deadline. One committee member acknowledged that the bills, “make changes that are significant” while another questioned why the Vermont Chamber was raising “last minute” questions, despite it being the first opportunity that the Vermont Chamber had to testify on the bill. When the bills are picked up in the House, the Vermont Chamber will continue to testify on the consequences S. 102 and S. 103 would have for the business community.  

S.102 contains broad language on what meetings an employer can mandate employees attend. Similar legislation in other states has prompted lawsuits over interference with rights established by the National Labor Rations Act. Additionally, language that would grant employees the right to refuse attendance at meetings they consider political, could have negative repercussions. For example, if DEI or ESG trainings are considered by someone to be political, as written, employers would not be able to require them to participate. S.103 would remove the standard of severe or pervasive for unlawful harassment or discrimination. The Vermont Chamber testified that as written, the legislation would bypass the opportunity for restorative change and instead be lost to litigation.