Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Several states mandate the display of sexual harassment posters, including Alaska, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, South Dakota and Vermont. In other states, many employers choose to display a poster on sexual harassment prominently in the workplace, as part of their prevention program.
According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC, prevention is the best tool to eliminate sexual harassment in the workplace. Employers are encouraged to take steps necessary to prevent sexual harassment from occurring. They should clearly communicate to employees that sexual harassment will not be tolerated. They can do so by providing sexual harassment training to their employees and by establishing an effective complaint or grievance process and taking immediate and appropriate action when an employee complains.
Unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitute sexual harassment when this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.
Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances, including but not limited to the following:
The victim as well as the harasser may be a woman or a man. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex.
The harasser can be the victim’s supervisor, an agent of the employer, a supervisor in another area, a co-worker, or a non-employee.
The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.
Unlawful sexual harassment may occur without economic injury to or discharge of the victim.
The harasser’s conduct must be unwelcome.
It is helpful for the victim to inform the harasser directly that the conduct is unwelcome and must stop. The victim should use any employer complaint mechanism or grievance system available.
As like the other states, employers in Vermont are required by law to post Vermont posters within the workplace. They need to be in a visible location within an area where all employees have access such as a work room, break room, mail room or any other place the employees tend to visit or gather in regularly. In addition to making sure the employees have access to the Vermont posters, employers must also make sure that the posters they have are the ones with the most current information because labor and employment laws do change frequently – sometimes even yearly.
Vermont posters are primarily meant to benefit the employees because they serve as a great resource for them to find the information they need to know and understand their workplace rights and responsibilities. The laws listed on the posters also often contain information on the protocol for the complaint process including which state and federal agencies they should contact if there is a problem. Employers do benefit from the Vermont posters too. The information found on the posters to make sure that their company policies uphold the labor and employment laws that apply to them and their employees. Furthermore, they can use the posters as a quick reference if there is ever a question about specific laws.
The Vermont posters need to cover certain state laws – those containing information about unemployment insurance, minimum wage, the Clean Indoor Air Quality Act, employer’s reinstatement liability, workers’ compensation, OSHA, sexual harassment, the Parental and Family Leave Act and child labor. Furthermore, the posters also need to cover specific federal laws: USERRA – Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law, Federal Minimum Wage, Employee Polygraph Protection Act, Family and Medical Leave Act and OSHA – Job Safety and Health Protection.