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Searching 2021-2022 Session

The Vermont Statutes Online

 

Title 9 : Commerce and Trade

Chapter 141 : HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

(Cite as: 9 V.S.A. § 4553)
  • § 4553. Powers

    (a) To carry out its duties, the Commission may:

    (1) Establish and maintain a principal office and such other offices within the State as it deems necessary.

    (2) Meet and hold hearings at any place within the State.

    (3) Appoint employees as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter.

    (4) Administer oaths and take the testimony of any person under oath in connection with a complaint filed under section 4554 of this title.

    (5) Issue subpoenas to compel testimony or access to or production of records, documents, and other evidence or possible sources of evidence or the appearance of persons, provided that the subpoena is issued pursuant to a complaint filed in accordance with section 4554 of this title and that there is reasonable cause to believe that those materials or the testimony of the person are material to the complaint. Subpoenas issued under this subdivision shall be accompanied with a notice that informs the person that the person has a right to contest the subpoena at a hearing before not less than three members of the Commission and that the person has the additional right to contest the subpoena in court. Subpoenas issued under this subdivision shall be enforced as provided in 3 V.S.A. §§ 809a and 809b.

    (6)(A) Enforce conciliation agreements and prohibitions against discrimination by bringing an action in the name of the Commission seeking any of the following:

    (i) Temporary or permanent injunctive relief in the public interest and for an individual aggrieved by unlawful discrimination.

    (ii) The imposition of a civil penalty of not more than $10,000.00 for each violation of law, including violations of any temporary restraining order issued pursuant to this section. For an intentional and continuing violation of a court order after a date set in the order, each day of violation shall be a separate offense.

    (iii) Compensatory and punitive damages on behalf of an aggrieved individual or class of individuals similarly situated.

    (iv) Costs and reasonable attorney's fees associated with the investigation and enforcement of actions; any such costs or fees recovered by the Human Rights Commission under this chapter shall be deposited in the Commission's special fund and shall be available to the Commission to offset the costs of providing legal services.

    (v) Other appropriate relief.

    (vi) Trial by jury.

    (B) The action may be brought in the Superior Court of the county in which the violation is alleged to have occurred or in Washington County, and the court is authorized to render all of the relief listed in this subdivision (6).

    (7) Utilize voluntary and uncompensated services of private individuals and organizations for administrative and educational purposes as may from time to time be offered and needed; however, volunteers may not be used to investigate complaints.

    (8) Conduct educational activities and publicize how and where to file complaints.

    (b) The Human Rights Commission shall forward, on or before January 1 of each year, to the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate an annual report on the status of Commission program operations, the number and type of calls received, complaints filed and investigated, closure of litigated and nonlitigated complaints, public educational activities undertaken, and recommendations for improved human rights advocacy and activities. The provisions of 2 V.S.A. § 20(d) (expiration of required reports) shall not apply to the report to be made under this subsection.

    (c) To carry out its duties under this chapter, the Commission shall adopt procedural and substantive rules in accordance with the provisions of 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. (Added 187, No. 234 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 89, § 5; 1995, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; 2005, No. 71, § 98a; 2015, No. 131 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)