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State Labor Laws, 2003 - page 25 / 27

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Equal employment opportunity. Among amendments to theAntidiscriminationAct, the procedure for an aggrieved person to file a claim was revised to authorize the Antidis- crimination and Labor Division to transfer a request for agency action filed with the divi- sion to the Federal Equal Employment Op- portunity Commission (EEOC) in accordance with any work share agreement that exists between the division and the EEOC and that is in effect on the day on which the agency ac- tion request is transferred. This transfer is considered the commencement of an action under Federal law. The director may issue a determination and order to the respondent to cease any discriminatory or prohibited em- ployment practice and provide relief to the aggrieved party as is determined appropriate.

Worker privacy. Current or former employ- ers of law enforcement and training academy applicants are now required to provide em- ployment history information to the law en- forcement agency or academy if proper no- tice and authorization procedures are fol- lowed. Information provided may include dates of employment, compensation paid, attendance record, any disciplinary action taken, and a statement regarding whether the employer would rehire the applicant and, if not, the reasons why. In the absence of fraud or malice, an employer is not subject to any civil liability resulting from the release of the information requested.

Workplace violence/security. Political subdi- visions of the State that operate public water systems were authorized to require prospec- tive and current employees and contractors and those seeking access to public water sys- tem facilities to submit to a criminal back- ground check. If employment is denied or terminated because of information obtained through a criminal background check, the pub- lic water utility must notify the person in writing of the reasons for denial or termina- tion and give him or her an opportunity to respond to the reasons and to seek review of the denial or termination through established administrative procedures.

Employee leasing. The law requiring the li- censing of professional employer organiza- tions was amended to now provide for an- nual registration rather than licensing. It also eliminated the Professional Employer Orga- nization Board, established qualifications for registration and specified the information to be filed by registrants. A professional em- ployer organization that is domiciled out- side of the State and employs less than 50 employees who are employed or domiciled

in the State is not required to file the entity information.

Virginia

Inmate labor. The section of the Code of Criminal Procedure regarding court-ordered restitution to crime victims was amended to permit the court to award up to 5 days of the individual victim’s wages that were lost due to the theft or damage to tools or equip- ment items of a trade that were owned by the victim and were essential to his or her employment.

Other laws. The Labor Commission is to assume certain responsibilities relating to coal mine certification and fee collection that were previously performed by the Labor Commission’s Safety Division.

The law providing State employees with a pay allowance for time spent on duty in the United States Armed Forces or the Utah National Guard was amended to also apply to county and municipal employees. These employees may be allowed up to full pay for all time not in excess of 15 days a year spent on duty at annual encampment or rifle competition or other duties in connection with the reserve training and instruction re- quirements. This leave is at the discretion of the employing county or municipality and, if granted, shall be in addition to annual vaca- tion leave with pay.

Vermont

Wages. The law relating to the payment of wages was amended to permit wages to be paid into a trust account on which the employee is a named beneficiary. Such payment must be with the consent of the employee.

Child labor. The minimum age was reduced from 13 to 12 for children to be exempt from the child labor law (except for those sections prohibiting work that is hazardous to health or morals) for employment as sports referees by a charity organization, a unit of state or local government, or for an organization of referees, sponsored by an organization recognized by the U.S. Olym- pic Committee.

Equal employment opportunity. The section of the Freedom of Information Act relating to record exemption for employment dis- crimination investigations was amended to expand the record exemption for investiga- tor notes, correspondence and information, which is furnished in confidence with respect to an active investigation of individual em- ployment discrimination complaints that are made to the Department of Human Resource Management to include any such investiga- tions conducted by personnel of the local governing body who are authorized by law to conduct these investigations in confi- dence, including local school boards.

Wages. New legislation increased the State minimum wage rate from $6.25 to $6.75 per hour on January 1, 2004, with a further in- crease to $7 per hour scheduled for January 1, 2005. An employer in the hotel, motel, tourist place, and restaurant industry may not employ a service or tipped employee at a wage rate less than $3.58 an hour. Begin- ning on January 1, 2005, this rate is sched- uled to rise to $3.65 an hour, and thereafter to a rate to be determined when the basic minimum wage rate is increased. A “service or tipped employee” is defined as all those, in either hotels, motels, tourist places, and restaurants who customarily and regularly receive more than $30 per month in tips for direct and personal customer service.

Child labor. A resolution was adopted des- ignating March 26, 2003, as Child Labor Awareness Day in Vermont.

Equal employment opportunity. The manda- tory retirement age for justices of the State Supreme Court and judges of all subordinate courts was raised from 70 to 90.

Worker privacy. The law relating to the cer- tified nursing facility education initiative was amended to repeal the previously established expiration date for the program. Another amendment provides that the records, re- ports, and communications of any staff mem- ber or other person acting on behalf of the nonprofit organization are privileged com- munications and may not be disclosed or ob- tained by legal discovery proceedings unless a circuit court, after a hearing and showing of good cause arising from extraordinary circum- stances, orders the disclosure of such records, reports, and communications.

Workplace security. The Department of Human Resource Management is to develop a Statewide policy for designating sensitive positions within each State agency. Such sensitive positions will include positions generally described as being directly respon- sible for the health, safety and welfare of the general populace, or for protection of critical infrastructures. Final candidates for employment in a sensitive position will be required, as a condition of employment, to

Monthly Labor Review

January 2004

27

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