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Workers' Compensation

Celebrating the Centennial Anniversary of Vermont Workers’ Compensation Act

Conference September 15  |  Special Edition VBA Journal  |  Educational Outreach

General Contact:  Keith Kasper, Esq., McCormick Fitzpatrick Kasper & Burchard, P.C.
(802) 863-3494,
(see below for contacts for specific initiatives and events)

Montpelier – The 100th anniversary of the enactment of the Vermont Workers’ Compensation Act is being commemorated this year with a series of initiatives and events including outreach to local schools, recognition by the Vermont Legislature, and culminating with a special Centennial conference in Montpelier on September 15, 2015.

A grand compromise between labor and management, the Act grew out of concerns from both workers and employers about the impact of work-related injuries. The no-fault insurance program adopted helped ensure that workers had access to medical attention and compensation for lost wages while employers gained insurance against litigation and costs that could jeopardize their businesses. Since enactment, the Act has enabled many thousands of Vermonters to access treatment and return to work.

In recognizing this important milestone, Governor Peter Shumlin has stated that “Vermont has a long history of protecting our workforce while promoting a growing economy. The nature of many jobs has changed in the 100 years since the Vermont Workers’ Compensation Act was passed. However, it is still vitally important that Vermonters know that if they are injured while on the job, the financial safety net and health care they need is ready and available to get them back healthy and working.” Commissioner of Labor Annie Noonan has added that “the core mission of the Act – to treat employees fairly following a workplace injury and protect employers from costly litigation – is still relevant and worth celebrating in today’s world.”  Earlier this year, the Vermont Legislature passed a resolution (HCR 90) recognizing the Act’s value to Vermonters.

As part of the celebration, the summer issue of the Vermont Bar Journal will focus on workers’ compensation in Vermont, featuring articles by Paul Gillies, Keith Kasper, and an interview with the Hon. Brian Burgess, former Supreme Court Justice and former Commissioner of the Department of Labor and Industry. In addition, the planning group is compiling curriculum materials on the history of workers’ compensation for use by teachers in Vermont schools.  

The Act will be celebrated with a Centennial Conference on September 15, 2015 in Montpelier, Vermont.  This conference will feature sessions on the history of workers’ compensation nationally and in Vermont, best practices and lessons for employers and workers in return to work and workplace safety, reviews of major reforms around the country, and proposals for what can improve workers’ compensation in Vermont going forward.  The conference will also highlight and support Kids’ Chance of Vermont, the recently established local branch of the national Kids’ Chance program, which offers college tuition scholarships to the children of injured workers.

The conference agenda and registration information are available under “Events” at or at  For more information on this event and other initiatives and activities, please see the contacts below.

Additional Contacts:

For Kids’ Chance of Vermont and VBA Journal special edition:
Keith Kasper, McCormick, Fitzpatrick, Kasper & Burchard, P.C., (802) 863-3494,

For Workers’ Compensation Conference:
William Driscoll, Associated Industries of Vermont, (802) 223-3441,

For School Outreach:
Kevin Ryan, Vermont Bar Association, (802) 223-2020 x 203,; Kristina Bielenberg, Workers’ Compensation and Safety Division, Vermont Department of Labor, (802) 828-2990,