June 27, 2019

(Via Attorney General's Office)

Attorney General T.J. Donovan released a video guidance today aimed at assisting Vermont employers in understanding workplace sexual harassment laws.  The video, entitled Preventing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace, provides businesses with an overview of Vermont’s current workplace sexual harassment laws and summarizes employers’ obligations under the law.  A complete copy of the video can be found here:

A joint project between the Attorney General’s Small Business Initiative and Civil Rights Unit, this video is part of Attorney General Donovan’s ongoing efforts to be responsive to the needs of employers in Vermont. 

“This is about working collaboratively with small businesses so that they can understand their obligations and rights when it comes to workplace sexual harassment,” said Attorney General Donovan.  “It’s about creating a culture of compliance and maintaining safe and healthy work environments.” 

Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women, stated, “far too many people in Vermont feel they are facing the untenable choice of putting up with sexual harassment at work, or leaving their job. This tool can help both employers and workers know their rights, understand the law, and create a workplace where all are respected.”

Produced with assistance from WCAX TV, the video contains a roundtable discussion moderated by Tabitha Pohl-Moore, President of the Rutland Area Branch of the NAACP, and features Cary Brown, Executive Director of the Vermont Commission on Women, as well as Shirley Jefferson, Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Diversity at Vermont Law School.  The video defines workplace sexual harassment, explains Vermont employers’ obligations to appropriately respond to claims of sexual harassment, and provides links to resources such as the Vermont Department of Labor’s model sexual harassment policy.

Comments or questions about Vermont’s sexual harassment laws should be directed to the Vermont Office of the Attorney General, Civil Rights Unit,, (888) 745-9195 (toll free in Vermont), or (802) 828-3657. 

For additional resources for small businesses in Vermont, please contact the Vermont Office of the Attorney General Small Business Initiative at (800) 649-2424 or visit

June 14, 2019

Montpelier, VT - Lisa Senecal of Stowe is now Chair of the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW), an independent non-partisan state government commission dedicated to advancing rights and opportunities for women and girls.

Ms. Senecal, elected unanimously, takes the helm from Marcia Merrill of Jericho.  Ms. Merrill steps down after ten years, leading the only entity in Vermont expressly considering broad implications of state policy and budget priorities for women in our state.  

"Like the women’s movement, VCW has evolved over our 55-year history in response to current issues,"  said VCW's director Cary Brown. "Our Chair helps to guide and steer this process, and we’ve been blessed with gifted leaders, like Marcia and Lisa, who volunteer hundreds of hours of their time in service to women of Vermont.  We celebrate and thank Marcia for her service to the women of Vermont and we welcome Lisa to this position."

Ms. Senecal is a founding partner in The Maren Group, a consultancy that works with businesses, investors, and campaigns to identify and remedy business and cultural practices that increase risk of sexual harassment and other forms of gender discrimination. An experienced entrepreneur with a background in media relations and marketing, her successful ventures include an award-winning children's entertainment company and a New Media consultancy. She has consulted and provided media relations and new media strategy for dozens of companies and organizations; gubernatorial and US Senatorial campaigns; and statewide policy initiatives.

She developed her voice as a women's advocate as a civilian student at Norwich University, from which she graduated cum laude. As one of a handful of women in each class, she developed perspectives invaluable both personally and professionally. Commissioner Senecal writes and speaks with an emphasis on issues of equity, equality, opportunity, and safety for women. Her perspectives and writing appear in a range of media, from NPR's Morning Edition and PBS News Hour, to The Daily Beast, the New York Daily News, and USA Today; she also writes a monthly column for her local newspaper, The Stowe Reporter. In addition to serving as Chair of VCW, she is on the Board of Trustees for the Stowe Education Fund and The Clarina Howard Nichols Center.

Reflecting on her new leadership role, Ms. Senecal said, "The honor of being appointed to the VCW by Governor Scott might only be surpassed by being elected Chair of the Commission by my fellow commissioners. Their faith in me is greatly appreciated. I'm looking forward to working closely with the outstanding staff of the Commission and my fellow commissioners to advance the rights and opportunities of women and girls in Vermont - which happens to be what's best for our overall economy and Vermonters of all genders."

May 30, 2019

Montpelier, VT – Are you a trainer or advisor on workplace equity and inclusivity issues in our state, or have you worked with one?  What trainings would be most helpful in your workplace?

The Vermont Commission on Women is currently compiling online educational resources and a directory about work-related discrimination and sexual harassment prevention. The Commission is inviting interested members of the public - employers, workers, non-profit organizations, advocates, and businesses - to provide input and guidance, and to help “crowdsource” experts, resources and information.

Input is being collected through two online forms, both of which can be found on the Commission’s website (

  1. Anyone interested in sharing educational resources, or being included in a directory of trainers, providers, experts and organizations about workplace equity and discrimination prevention should complete the Commission’s online Contact Form at
  2. The Commission is also conducting a Workplace Training Survey for anyone who is a Vermont employee or an employer. This survey will help the Commission gauge what types of information and training Vermonters feel are most needed in their workplaces. The survey is accessible online at:

The information gathered will be used in a statewide public education and outreach campaign later this year, which includes a new workplace discrimination prevention website.  The project is a result of the passage of recent legislation which allocated funds to the Vermont Commission on Women, in consultation with the Vermont Attorney General’s office and the Vermont Human Rights Commission, to inform and assist Vermont employees, employers, businesses, and members of the public about these issues.  “We aim to make it easier for Vermonters to access the information, training, and education they need to create better workplaces for everyone in Vermont,” Commission Director Cary Brown said.

May 13, 2019

One year ago this month, Gov. Phil Scott signed into law a piece of legislation that moves Vermont a step further down the road to pay equity. On Monday, May 13, the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women will host a public meeting to celebrate a stubborn victory that will have an enduring impact on the economic lives of Vermont's workers, particularly women.

Read more here.

May 9, 2019

A year ago this month, Governor Phil Scott signed into law legislation that moves Vermont a step further to pay equity. On Monday, May 13, the Bennington Branch of the American Association of University Women will host a public meeting to celebrate a stubborn victory that will have an enduring impact on the economic lives of Vermont workers, particularly women. The meeting at the Bennington Free Library will begin at 7 p.m. The statute prohibits employers from asking job candidates for their salary history, thereby breaking the pattern of chaining future salaries to often-low past salaries.  It is now imbedded in Vermont Labor Law as 21 V.S.A. 495m. The Bennington Branch of AAUW collaborated with national AAUW and with the Vermont Commission on Women (VCW) to press legislative committees to advance this bill into law.

At the meeting, Cary Brown, VCW executive director, will speak about the work to improve the lives of girls and women in Vermont and their priorities for the year ahead.

Women in Vermont still face inequities in earnings, employment, safety, leadership and many other areas. The VCW is the only entity in our state that explicitly considers the broad implications of state policy and budget priorities for women. This independent nonpartisan state commission is governed by 16 commissioners and an advisory council that includes an AAUW representative from the Brattleboro Branch.


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