Office of the Vermont Attorney General

COVID-19 Updates and Information from the Attorney General

COVID-19 Information & Resources

Click on any of the sections below for  COVID-19-related guidance and resources from the Vermont Attorney General’s Office:

Workplace Guidance for Employers and Employees

The Vermont Office of the Attorney General understands that both employers and employees alike have questions about how COVID-19 will affect their workforce and their workplace during these unprecedented times.

Vermont’s workforce is subject to state and federal laws regarding a broad range of employment issues, ranging from payment of wages, unemployment insurance, family leave, and job discrimination.  By law, various government agencies are granted authority to enforce one or more of these laws.

On March 18, 2020, President Trump signed the “Families First Coronavirus Response Act” (H.R. 6201), requiring certain employers to provide leave, at times paid, for absences from work related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Act:

  1. expands the existing federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to allow employees to care for their children if school is closed due to a public health emergency; and
  2. provides certain paid sick leave for employees who are quarantined, have been advised by a healthcare provider to stay home due to concerns related to COVID-19,are seeking a medical diagnosis related to COVID-10, or are caring for an individual with COVID-19-related medical needs.

The Act goes into effect on April 2, 2020, and it is anticipated additional guidance from the USDOL is forthcoming, including guidance regarding exemptions for small businesses.  Questions regarding this new law should be directed to the USDOL.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Civil Rights Unit (CRU) enforces many of Vermont’s employment discrimination laws, including Vermont’s Fair Employment Practices Act (VFEPA), for private sector and local government workplaces.  The Vermont Human Rights Commission (HRC) enforces those same laws as they apply to State of Vermont employees.

Other entities, such as the Vermont Department of Labor (VTDOL), enforce Vermont workplace laws relating to wages, earned sick time, unemployment insurance, workers, compensation, and workplace safety.

This document addresses some frequently asked questions (FAQs) for employers and employees related to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing links to the appropriate resources.

Please understand that guidance relating to COVID-19 changes almost daily, as will some of the documents referenced herein.  Please go directly to the source – Centers for Disease Control, VTDOL, etc. – for the most up-to-date and complete guidance.

Q: How does the new, “Stay Home, Stay Safe” executive order affect my job? 

On March 24, 2020, Governor Scott issued an executive order addendum, called Stay Home, Stay Safe, requiring Vermonters to remain at home except for essential reasons for personal and public health and safety.  Among other things, the Stay Home, Stay Safe order calls for most businesses to suspend in-person operations.  Thus, your employer may be changing the nature of your job by requiring you to telework or carry out customer transactions by curbside pickup or delivery.

The order exempts a number of employers that carry out vital health, safety, and infrastructure needs, including  health care, groceries, pharmacies, hardware stores, media, and law enforcement. For a full list set forth in the March 24 order, click here.

Commercial entities, non-profits, employers and others with questions about acceptable continuation of business operations should review the March 25 guidance issued by the the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD).  They may also seek additional information from ACCD by submitting a request for continuance of business operations form.

Those working for an employer not subject to the order must still continue to follow the hygiene and social distancing requirements issued by the Vermont Department of Health and the federal Centers for Disease Control.

Q:  I need to close my business temporarily due to an order from the Governor or due to health and safety concerns.  Do I have to keep paying my employees?

The recent COVID-19-related executive orders issued in Vermont do not change the wage and hour laws applicable to Vermont employers.  Suspending operation for COVID-19-related reasons generally would be treated the same way as any other temporary suspension or reduction in operations, such as seasonal changes in demand, inclement weather, remodeling, or relocation.  Out-of-work employees may be able to access any paid time off available to them, including benefits under Vermont’s earned sick time law, enforced by the VTDOL.  VTDOL also enforces Vermont’s wage and hour laws and should be the primary point of contact for questions regarding paying employees.

VTDOL’s Wage & Hour Program can be reached at:

Wage and Hour Program
63 Pearl Street
Burlington, VT 05401-4331
Telephone: 802-951-4083
FAX: 802-863-7655
Labor.WageHour@vermont.gov

VTDOL has also set up a resource page for information about pay for employees during the pandemic.  That page can be accessed here.

Some employees not able to work or laid off due to the COVID-19 outbreak may be eligible for unemployment benefits.  As of March 14, 2020, Governor Scott has mandated certain temporary changes to unemployment insurance eligibility requirements related to COVID-19.  A memorandum regarding those changes can be found here.

The U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL), which enforces federal wage and hour laws, has provided additional resources for employers related to COVID-19 here.

Q:  One of my employees has notified me that they traveled abroad last week.  They reported that they do not currently have any COVID-19 symptoms and would like to return to work in order to continue to earn money.  Can I prevent them from returning to the workplace?

The Governor’s March 24, 2020 Stay Home, Stay Safe order requires many businesses to avoid operations that involve personal contact. Check first to see how that order affects the type of business you operate.  It could be that none or few of your employees may be permitted to return or remain at work.

If your business is one of those permitted by the order to continue office, rather than remote operations, then your next step is to notify your employee that they should comply with the advice from the Vermont Department of Health (VTDOH) and the federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC): travelers returning to the U.S. from numerous countries abroad to self-isolate for 14 days and to self-monitor for symptoms, even if asymptomatic.  In addition, VTDOH advises travelers returning from passenger cruises and a broad range of countries, including Canada, South America, Europe, Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, China, Iran, or South Korea to call it at 802-863-7240. Further VTDOH guidance may be found here.

Employers and employees alike should follow VTDOH and CDC updates and guidance daily, as the list of affected countries and other guidance is updated frequently.

In its guidance related to pandemics, the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has explained that employers may follow CDC guidelines regarding post-travel quarantine without violating disability laws, and are not required to wait until an employee displays symptoms to require them to stay home.

Q:  What if an employee is unable to work their normal schedule due to having to attend to childcare obligations while schools are closed? What are my rights as an employee and obligations as an employer concerning a flexible work arrangement and paid or unpaid leave time?

Remote work is encouraged, where appropriate. Vermont’s flexible work arrangements law requires all Vermont employers to discuss and consider in good faith requested flexible work arrangements with their employees.

If an employee cannot perform any work remotely either on a part-time or full-time basis, or needs time off due to childcare obligations, whether the employer is obligated to pay the employee depends upon a variety of factors, such as whether the employee is paid hourly or on a salaried basis, or whether the terms of such leave are governed by contract or workplace policies.  The USDOL has provided guidance on some of these factors as they relate to COVID-19 here.

Generally, hourly employees (e.g., those subject to overtime laws) are paid only for hours of work performed.  As for salaried employees exempt from the overtime laws, USDOL advises that they “generally must receive their full salary in any week in which they perform any work, subject to certain very limited exceptions.”  (The USDOL discusses those exceptions in its COVID-19 guidance here.)

In addition, employees may also have access to paid leave benefits (vacation, personal, or compensatory time), depending on the benefits provided by their employer, as well as benefits governed by Vermont’s earned sick time law.   Employees may also have up to 12 weeks of job-protected, unpaid leave available for self-care or care for a family member under Vermont’s Parental and Family Leave (VPFLA), as well as an additional 24 hours of time under VPFLA’s short-term leave law for handling school-related needs and doctor’s appointments.

The CDC recommends that employers “ensure that [their] sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.”

Q:  I have a low-grade fever, but my primary care physician is unable to get me tested for COVID-19 at this time.  Must I continue to attend work?

The first question is whether the Governor’s March 24, 2020 Stay Home, Stay Safe executive order requires your employer to suspend all in-person operations.  Your employer should know this information, but you can check for yourself here.

Even if your employer is permitted to continue in-person business operations, all workplaces must follow public health standards. The current VTDOH and CDC recommendation is that employees displaying symptoms of COVID-19  (including fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath) should stay home even absent a diagnosis. As above, these employees may have access to various paid leave benefits.

The EEOC has stated that employers may require employees displaying symptoms of COVID-19 to stay home until a doctor has cleared them to return to work and the employee has provided a note from a health care provider.

Q: I tested positive for COVID-19 and have to remain home under doctor’s orders.  My employer has let me know they don’t believe they can continue to employ me due to health and safety concerns.  Is this legal?

It may not be legal, depending upon the circumstances of your employment.  For example, employees being treated for serious health conditions such as COVID-19 may be entitled to job-protected leave under federal or state leave laws, such as Vermont’s Parental and Family Leave Act (VPFLA). That law provides employees with a serious health condition up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave each year.  Such leave may also be used to care for a seriously ill family member.

In addition, discharging an employee known or believed to have (or have recovered from) COVID-19 may constitute a form of disability discrimination.  Again, the answer depends upon the individual circumstances of your employment.

That said, the EEOC has observed that federal disability protections laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) do allow employers (1) to prevent workers from returning to the workplace while they are sick and (2) to require them to provide a return to work certification from their physician prior to returning to the workplace.[1]

Contact the Attorney General’s Office Civil Rights Unit or the Human Rights Commission for additional information.

Q: I have been experiencing harassment at work, either from customers, co-workers or my managers and supervisors because of a fear that I have COVID-19.  What can I do?

Employees have the right to a workplace that is free from discrimination and your employer has an obligation to ensure that you are not harassed at work even when that harassment may be based on fear.  For example, state and federal law prohibit discrimination against persons mistakenly regarded as having a disability.  Employers aware of such harassment must take prompt remedial action to stop the harassment and to ensure there is no retaliation.

Whether or not workplace conflicts rise to the level of unlawful harassment depends upon the circumstances of each case.  If you believe you have been subjected to workplace harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, place of birth, age or disability. you may contact the with the Attorney General’s Office or the Human Rights Commission to provide further details that will enable them to make a more informed assessment.

The CRU (or HRC if you are a state employee) can provide further information once they learn the details of your situation.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Disclaimer

The information presented in this document is not legal advice. This information is presented for general information purposes only. If you have a specific legal question you should contact an attorney.  The information presented is provided in good faith as a public service.

We believe the information to be accurate.  However, laws and information change from time to time and are subject to interpretation. Accordingly, we make no representation or warranty as to the completeness or accuracy of the information presented. You should make your own determination as to its suitability for your purpose prior to use.  Additionally, policy makers may implement even more changes to federal and state laws affecting employers and employees as a direct result of the current public health crisis in an effort to respond quickly to the COVID-19 pandemic. You should refer to the Vermont Department of Labor for future updates if and when they occur.

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office is not responsible for damages of any nature resulting from the use of or reliance upon the information provided. We are not responsible for the contents of any websites referenced. We provide these links as an information service only.  We make no warranty, express or implied, including the warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose. We do not assume legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of any information.

[1] Employers may be subject to different rules from other sources, such as union contracts, personnel policies, or individual contracts.  Although the CRU and HRC cannot give individual legal advice, they can help you identify what rules may apply to your own situation.

For Small Businesses

Our help page for small businesses has resources for small businesses owners. Look for the drop-down topic, “COVID-19 Guidance.”

Stay Home, Stay Safe Executive Order

Governor Scott’s March 24, 2020 Addendum 6 to Executive Order 01-20 requires businesses and non-profits that are not critical to the public health and safety, as well as economic and national security, to suspend in-person business operations effective March 25th at 5 p.m.

Businesses and non-profit organizations that are not able to cease in-person businesses are asked to determine whether they meet the definition of “critical to the public health and safety, as well as economic and national security” using the guidance developed by the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) found here.

If you still have questions about whether your work is considered “critical to the public health and safety, as well as economic and national security,” ACCD recommends referring to the NAICS Code Guidance List.

Vermont businesses may seek further guidance from ACCD by completing the Continuation of Operations Form.

Child Care Programs

The Vermont Department for Children and Familes – Child Development Division has developed a webpage and FAQ dedicated to providing information and resources about child care and COVID-19.

Survivors of Domestic and Sexual Violence

While we continue to take precautions around COVID-19 to make our communities safer for everyone, it is important for Vermonters to remember that not every home situation is safe.

Self-isolation does not mean that you are alone. Advocates and law enforcement stand ready to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence despite this pandemic.

If you are worried about having to self-isolate in a dangerous home situation, please reach out when and how you feel safe. There are numerous resources available for survivors at the local and national level. They include:

The details around how domestic and sexual violence organizations are handling this situation are as follows:

    • Staff continue to answer hotline calls 24/7.
    • Shelters are open and implementing the procedural guidance offered by the State of Vermont Office on Economic Opportunity. This includes regular sanitation of shelter spaces, promoting hand washing and social isolation, and responding quickly in the event that a shelter resident feels ill.
    • Staff are attending to the needs of survivors housed in shelters by phone with daily in-person contact by one staff member.
    • The Vermont Network is working with service providers to ensure they have the most up-to-date information about staying safe and providing services, and to accurately represent what is happening locally in conversations at the state and national level.
Price Gouging

Price gouging is when the price of essential goods or services is inflated during a market crisis. Price gouging is illegal in Vermont under the Consumer Protection Act. Remember that in Vermont businesses are protected by the Consumer Protection Act when they are in the role of consumer, such as buying hand sanitizer or bleach wipes for use at their business - not for resale. To report price gouging, please contact our Consumer Assistance Program at AGO.CAP@vermont.gov or 1-800-649-2424 with the following information:

  • The date of the offer or purchase in question;
  • The store name & location (or website name & web-address, if offer/purchase was online);
  • As much identifying information about the product or service as you can provide, including, potentially, the product or services’ brand name; model name/number or product-line; volume (3-pack, 16 oz., etc.); and any other information that would assist in identifying the specific product/service in question;
  • The dollar amount of the offer or purchase in question;
  • Any supporting documentation showing the questionable price offer/purchase amount, including photographs of the product/price on the shelf and any receipts.
Scams

Phony Healthcare Products

Beware of fake healthcare products that supposedly protect or cure you from COVID-19. There is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19 infection. The Vermont Department of Health’s COVID-19 page has reliable, up-to-date information about the virus, including common sense prevention tips.

A similar scam involves the sale of COVID-19 test kits. In this phishing scam, the scammer offers you employment selling COVID-19 test kits – if you provide your social security number to get set up. Never give your social security to an unknown person.

Fake Charities Scam

Beware of fake charity appeals that supposedly help people or communities impacted by the pandemic. You can verify charities by consulting the Vermont Secretary of State’s corporation database or by visiting Charity Navigator. For more information on charities scams, see our CAP Connection blog post on the topic.

Employer Imposter Scam

With many employees working remotely, beware of the imposter scams in which a scammer poses as a company’s CEO, manager, or other internal employee. The scammer convinces an employee to wire money. Scammers may also target remote workers by getting them to agree to pay fake invoices or solicitations in the guise of a bill. They may also convince the remote workers to respond to scam telemarketers “verifying” an address, but really signing businesses up for services.

Government Poster Scam

Another potential scam to be on the look-out for is the government poster scam. Scammers call or fax, saying the federal government requires posters to be posted in a visible location at their business. Scammers may make up new requirements, declaring that the federal government has new requirements due the pandemic that must be followed and that businesses need to pay a fee to fulfill such requirement. There are free COVID-19 posters available on the CDC website currently.

General Tips

Concerned Vermonters can report COVID-19-related scams, price gouging, or other consumer concerns to CAP. The following tips can protect you from scams:

  • Beware of unsolicited calls or emails
  • Don’t give out personal information
  • Be aware of scare tactics: Scammers demand immediate action or make threatening statements
  • Don’t talk to them: hang up!
  • Don’t open attachments: hit delete!
  • Always do your research and take steps to verify

To report a scam, price gouging, or other consumer concerns to our Consumer Assistance Program at AGO.CAP@vermont.gov or 1-800-649-2424.

Landlord-Tenant, Mortgages and Foreclosures

Landlord-tenant matters in Vermont are a contractual relationship between the parties and governed by the Residential Rental Agreement statute (9 V.S.A. §§ 4451, et seq.). We urge calm and communication as all parties do their best to navigate this public health emergency.

    • Vermonters with subsidized rent should immediately notify their public housing authority with any change in income, especially if due to job loss.
    • Community Action Agencies (CAAs) provide emergency assistance to Vermonters in need, including back rent assistance. Here is a list of the CAAs with contact information.
    • Courts have declared suspension of nonemergency proceedings through April 15. If you receive an eviction notice you should contact the Court immediately to find out if proceedings will be delayed.
    • The Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition has a page dedicated to updating the public on COVID-19 as it pertains to housing and homelessness.

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has suspended all foreclosures and evictions for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insured properties for 60-days (through April 15). The full mortgage letter can be found here.

If you are at risk of not being able to pay your mortgage due to hardships suffered in connection with the COVID-19 national emergency, there may be help available for you. The federal government has taken steps to offer assistance to homeowners whose mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and to homeowners whose mortgages are owned by Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. Additionally, certain banks are offering their own COVID relief programs to affected homeowners. Even if your bank does not offer a program specifically to address COVID-19-related hardships, most banks will consider requests for assistance from homeowners facing hardships on a case-by-case basis. To seek any of these types of assistance, you must first contact your mortgage servicer (the company that sends you bills for your mortgage) to let them know about the difficulties you are facing and to ask about the options that are available to you. If you have difficulties in communicating with your mortgage servicer about what assistance may be available to you, please contact the Consumer Assistance Program at AGO.CAP@vermont.gov or 1-800-649-2424.

Heating Fuel, Propane and Other Utilities

1) Price gouging: Petroleum and Heating Fuel

Vermont has an anti-price gouging law related to heating fuel and petroleum products, 9 V.S.A. 2451d, which prohibits charging “unconscionably high” fuel prices during a “market emergency,” which first requires a declaration by the Governor.

This law applies to all petroleum and heating fuel products, such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, wood pellets, and propane also known as liquified petroleum gas.

As of March 19, 2020, the Governor has not declared a “market emergency”.  Should that change, this post will be updated.

Regardless, it is the Attorney General’s position that unconscionably high fuel pricing during the COVID-19 crisis would still constitute an unfair act under the Consumer Protection Act.

Consumers should file a complaint here if they see any price gouging on petroleum or heating fuel products. If you have questions, call or email the AG’s Consumer Assistance Program at 800-649-2424 or AGO.CAP@vermont.gov.

2) Payments and Collections: Propane

Apart from price gouging, there are no other specific laws that would govern heating fuel or propane rights and obligations during the COVID-19 crisis.  Meaning, the same rights and obligations apply.  Propane dealers have a right to collect payments and consumers would be bound by any regular contract or customer relationship regarding payments.

Under current propane laws, fuel dealers must allow customers to enter into reasonable payment plans if customers cannot afford propane, regardless of the reason (whether the financial hardship stems from COVID-19 or any other financial hardship). See CP 111.10, available here. Propane dealers also must deliver on a cash-on-delivery basis, even if you have an outstanding balance.  See CP 111.06 for full terms on cash deliveries, available here.

Nonpayment of propane/heating fuel could result in termination of service, if fuel dealers follow the proper procedures for disconnection.  Read the full rule on service disconnections at CP 111.11, available here.

Tip: ask your propane dealer for a reasonable payment plan if you are experiencing financial hardship during the COVID-19 crisis.  Feel free to report any unfair or deceptive acts or practices to the Consumer Assistance Program.

3) Disconnections: Regulated Utilities (Electricity, Natural Gas, Telecommunications)

As of March 18, 2020, the VT Public Utility Commission has issued a moratorium on involuntary disconnections for natural gas, electricity, and telecommunications, for all residents of Vermont. The moratorium remains in effect until April 30, 2020 or until further notice.  Read the full order here.

*Note that the order does not suspend payment obligations:

  • “Nothing in this Order shall be interpreted as relieving customers of their obligation to pay what is due to their utilities. This Order only affects the utilities’ ability to disconnect residential customers for non-payment.”
Guidance on the Vermont Open Meeting Law, Physical Distancing and COVID-19

The Vermont Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) has authority to enforce violations of the Vermont Open Meeting Law pursuant to 1 V.S.A. § 314.[1]   The following provides a guide for local governments to conduct open meetings while practicing physical distancing as recommended by experts in the medical community to address COVID-19:

  1. Electronic participation in public meetings is allowed. Vermont open meeting laws allow for members of public bodies to attend meetings by electronic means without being physically present at the meeting. 1 V.S.A. § 312(a)(2). A quorum or more can attend electronically and conduct business. 1 V.S.A. § 312(a)(2)(D). This is subject to certain requirements, explained below.
  2. A physical location is required for all meetings of a public body, including those with electronic attendance by a quorum or more of the body. Vermont open meeting laws require a physical location where at least one member of the public body, or a staff member or designee of the body, will be present and where members of the public can attend–even if all other members of the body are attending electronically. 1 V.S.A. § 312(a)(2)(D).
  3. A public body could limit attendance at the required physical location described in section 2 above, consistent with state and federal COVID-19 crowd-size guidelines, as long as electronic access is available to those not present. This is a reasonable interpretation of the law given the current, unprecedented circumstance involving COVID-19, which the Attorney General’s Office will rely upon for enforcement decisions.  Nothing in the open meeting law prevents a public body from limiting attendance at the required physical location described in section 312(a)(2)(D), consistent with current emergency state and federal guidelines regarding crowd size, so long as electronic access to the meeting is available to those not present at the physical location. See 1 V.S.A. § 312(a)(2)(D). This interpretation is limited to those situations where a quorum or more (as covered by section 312(a)(2)(D)) of the public body is meeting by electronic means and the business of the body is being done by means of remote communication.
  4. A public body could manage physical attendance in these additional ways:
    1. Delay unnecessary meetings.
    2. Widely and clearly publicize electronic participation information for public meetings that must occur. Encourage individuals to attend electronically for the sake of public health.
    3. Designate physical locations with sufficient space to allow for compliance with the principles of physical distancing–more than 6 feet apart.
  5. Emergency Meetings are allowed: Given the rapidly changing nature of the situation, meetings may need to convene quickly. This is allowed when necessary to respond to unforeseen occurrences or conditions requiring immediate attention. Notice and posting requirements are waived for emergency meetings. 1 V.S.A. § 312(c)(3). Public notice should still be given as soon as possible before the meeting. Id.
  6. Proposed legislative changes: The Senate Government Operations Committee is considering a bill that would temporarily allow public meetings to occur electronically and without a designated physical location, as long as the public can attend by electronic means. It would also allow for extended time to post meeting minutes.
  7. Additional guidance can be found:
    1. at the Secretary of State’s website
    2. at the Vermont League of Cities and Towns

[1] .  Private actors may also enforce rights on the Vermont Open Meeting Law.

Recent updates from the Attorney General:

Vermont Joins Fight for COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Federal Student Loan Borrowers

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today joined a coalition of 27 attorneys general in calling on the U.S. Department of Education to provide federal student loan borrowers with emergency measures to help during the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter to Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, the coalition asks the …

0 comments

Attorney General Donovan Urges Amazon, Facebook, Ebay, Walmart & Craigslist: Stop Price-Gouging By Online Sellers

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today issued a letter to Amazon, Facebook, eBay, Walmart, and Craigslist urging the businesses to more rigorously monitor price-gouging practices by online sellers using their services. Attorney General Donovan, who was joined by 32 attorneys general from across the U.S., is calling on …

0 comments

Attorney General Donovan Urges Federal Government To Prioritize Production Of COVID-19 Protective Gear & Testing Supplies

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, 802-828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today joined a coalition of 15 attorneys general in urging the federal government to fully utilize the Defense Production Act to immediately prioritize the production of masks, respirators, and other critical items needed by health care workers, first responders, and law enforcement as they …

0 comments

Advocates, law enforcement stand ready to help survivors of domestic and sexual violence despite global pandemic

Self-isolation does not mean that you are alone: Resources continue to be available to all who need them   WATERBURY, Vt. (March 24, 2020) — The Vermont State Police, Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence join with other law-enforcement agencies and advocacy organizations to acknowledge the unique and …

0 comments

Attorney General’s Office Publishes Workplace Guidance on Covid-19-Related Concerns

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced that his office has published the COVID-19 Pandemic Resources for Vermont Employers and Employees. The guidance, which follows a “Frequently Asked Questions” (FAQs) format, addresses a variety of issues—such as pay obligations during an Emergency Order or harassment of workers relating …

0 comments

AG Donovan and Coalition Win Preliminary Injunction to Protect Food Assistance

Contact: Ben Battles, Solicitor General, (802) 828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has enjoined the Trump administration from unlawfully cutting Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, known in Vermont as 3SquaresVT. In the lawsuit, a coalition of 20 states and New York City challenged a new …

0 comments

Attorney General’s Office Publishes Guidance on Complying with Open Meeting Laws During COVID-19 Emergency

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced that his office has published the Vermont Attorney General’s Office Guidance on the Vermont Open Meeting Law, Physical Distancing and COVID-19. The Attorney General’s Office is charged by statute with enforcement of the Vermont Open Meeting Law (1 V.S.A.§§ 310-314).  The …

0 comments

Attorney General Donovan to Postpone Government Benefits Cases in Light of Covid-19 Crisis

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171   Vermonters In Dispute Over Benefits Get Reprieve Attorney General T.J. Donovan today announced that his office will file motions to continue for 90 days all economic services cases where they provide counsel to the State of Vermont. These motions will postpone all pending cases between the …

0 comments

Statement on Vermont’s Prison Population and the COVID-19 Emergency

Contact: Charity R. Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171 The COVID-19 emergency means that all of our current systems and networks are under stress, including the Department of Corrections (DOC). This is an opportunity to work together to find solutions that are consistent with public health and public safety. Prosecution offices across the state, including mine, have been looking at safe and …

0 comments

Attorney General’s Office Working Remotely until at Least April 6th

Contact: Charity Clark, Chief of Staff, (802) 828-3171 Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced today that, in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the employees of the Attorney General’s Office are working remotely. This will facilitate social distancing and allow parents to be at home with their children while Vermont schools are closed. There is no anticipated …

0 comments