§4502. Public accommodations

Link to law: http://legislature.vermont.gov/statutes/section/09/139/04502
Published: 2015

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Title

09

:
Commerce and Trade






Chapter

139

:
DISCRIMINATION; PUBLIC ACCOMMODATIONS; RENTAL AND SALE OF REAL ESTATE











 

§

4502. Public accommodations

(a) An owner or

operator of a place of public accommodation or an agent or employee of such

owner or operator shall not, because of the race, creed, color, national

origin, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity of any

person, refuse, withhold from, or deny to that person any of the

accommodations, advantages, facilities, and privileges of the place of public

accommodation.

(b) An owner or

operator of a place of public accommodation or his or her employee or agent

shall not prohibit from entering a place of public accommodation:

(1) an

individual with a disability accompanied by a service animal; or

(2) an

individual who is training an animal to perform as a service animal for an

individual with a disability.

(c) No

individual with a disability shall be excluded from participation in or be

denied the benefit of the services, facilities, goods, privileges, advantages,

benefits, or accommodations, or be subjected to discrimination by any place of

public accommodation on the basis of his or her disability as follows:

(1) A public

accommodation shall provide an individual with a disability the opportunity to

participate in its services, facilities, privileges, advantages, benefits, and

accommodations. It is discriminatory to offer an individual an unequal

opportunity or separate benefit; however it is permissible to provide a

separate benefit if that benefit is necessary to provide an individual or class

of individuals an opportunity that is as effective as that provided to others.

(2) A public

accommodation shall afford goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages,

and accommodations to an individual with a disability in the most integrated

setting which is appropriate for the needs of the individual. Notwithstanding

the existence of separate or different programs or activities, a public

accommodation shall not deny an individual with a disability an opportunity to

participate in such programs or activities that are not separate or different.

Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require an individual with a

disability to accept an accommodation, aid, service, opportunity, or benefit

which the individual chooses not to accept.

(3) A public

accommodation shall not exclude or otherwise deny equal goods, services,

facilities, privileges, advantages, accommodations, or other opportunities to

an individual or entity because of the known disability of an individual with

whom the individual or entity is known to have a relationship or association.

(4) Repealed.]

(5) A public

accommodation shall make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or

procedures when those modifications are necessary to offer goods, services,

facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations to individuals with

disabilities, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate that making the

modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services,

facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.

(6) A public

accommodation shall take whatever steps may be necessary to ensure that no

individual with a disability is excluded, denied services, segregated, or

otherwise treated differently than other individuals because of the absence of

auxiliary aids and services, unless the public accommodation can demonstrate

that taking those steps would fundamentally alter the nature of the goods,

services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations being offered

or would result in an undue burden on the public accommodation.

(7) A public

accommodation shall not be required to provide to individuals with disabilities

personal devices, such as wheelchairs, eyeglasses, hearing aids or readers for

personal use or study, or personal services to assist with feeding, toileting,

or dressing.

(8)

Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, if a place of public

accommodation has an architectural or communication barrier, in order to comply

with this section, the public accommodation shall remove the barrier, if

removal is readily achievable, or shall make its goods, services, facilities,

privileges, advantages, or accommodations available through alternative

methods, if those alternative methods are readily achievable. Nothing in this

subsection shall be construed to alter architectural barrier removal

requirements under the federal Americans with Disabilities Act and its

regulations as they relate to governmental entities.

(9) Any public

accommodation that offers examinations or courses related to applications,

licensing, certification, or credentialing for secondary or post-secondary

education, professional, or trade purposes shall offer such examinations or

courses in a place and manner accessible to persons with disabilities or offer

alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals.

(d) This section

shall not prohibit an owner or operator of an inn, hotel, motel, or other

establishment which provides lodging to transient guests, and which has five or

fewer rooms for rent or hire, from restricting such accommodation on the basis

of sex or marital status.

(e) It is a

violation of this section for a gas station or other facility which sells

gasoline or other motor vehicle fuel for sale to the public to fail to comply

with the provisions of section 4110a of this title.

(f) It is a

violation of this section for a public accommodation to fail to comply with the

provisions or rules pertaining to public buildings pursuant to 20 V.S.A.

chapter 174.

(g) This chapter

shall not apply to:

(1) special

education claims and issues covered by federal and State special education

laws, regulations, and procedures, pursuant to 20 U.S.C. § 1404 et seq. and 16

V.S.A. chapter 101; or

(2) an insurer

underwriting risks, classifying risks, or administering risks that are based on

or are not inconsistent with 8 V.S.A. §§ 4724 and 4084 or other applicable

State laws.

(h) This section

shall not be construed to require a public accommodation to permit an

individual to participate in or benefit from the services, facilities, goods,

privileges, advantages, and accommodations of that public accommodation when

that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others. For

the purposes of this subsection, "direct threat" means a significant

risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a

modification of policies, practices, or procedures or by the provision of

auxiliary aids or services. In determining whether an individual poses a direct

threat to the health or safety of others, a public accommodation shall make an

individualized assessment based on reasonable judgment that relies on current

medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence to ascertain:

(1) the nature,

duration, and severity of the risk;

(2) the

probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and

(3) whether

reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures will mitigate

the risk.

(i) Nothing in

this section shall be construed to prohibit a public accommodation from

excluding a person engaged in disruptive behavior which the place of public

accommodation has reason to believe is the result of alcohol or illegal drug

use.

(j)

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a mother may breastfeed her child

in any place of public accommodation in which the mother and child would

otherwise have a legal right to be.

(k) A police

officer, a firefighter, or a member of a rescue squad, search and rescue squad,

first response team, or ambulance corps who is accompanied by a service dog

shall be permitted in any place of public accommodation, and the service dog

shall be permitted to stay with its master. For the purposes of this

subsection, "service dog" means a dog owned, used, or in training by

any police or fire department, rescue, or first response squad, ambulance

corps, or search and rescue organization for the purposes of locating criminals

and lost persons, or detecting illegal substances, explosives, cadavers,

accelerants, or school or correctional facility contraband.

( l )

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a religious organization,

association, or society, or any nonprofit institution or organization operated,

supervised, or controlled by or in conjunction with a religious organization,

association, or society, shall not be required to provide services,

accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to an individual

if the request for such services, accommodations, advantages, facilities,

goods, or privileges is related to the solemnization of a marriage or

celebration of a marriage. Any refusal to provide services, accommodations, advantages,

facilities, goods, or privileges in accordance with this subsection shall not

create any civil claim or cause of action. This subsection shall not be

construed to limit a religious organization, association, or society, or any

nonprofit institution or organization operated, supervised, or controlled by or

in conjunction with a religious organization from selectively providing

services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges to some

individuals with respect to the solemnization or celebration of a marriage but

not to others. (Added 1987, No. 74, § 1; amended 1991, No. 48, § 3; 1991, No.

135 (Adj. Sess.), § 11; 1991, No. 243 (Adj. Sess.), §§ 3, 4; 2001, No. 117

(Adj. Sess.), § 2, eff. May 28, 2002; 2003, No. 17, §§ 1, 2; 2007, No. 41, §

14; 2009, No. 3, § 11, eff. Sept. 1, 2009; 2013, No. 31, § 10; 2015, No. 23, §

144.)
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