26 Aug

August 2021 Maine HR Legal Updates

Posted at

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Maine Limits Pre-Offer Criminal History Checks with Fair Chance Act

Update Applicable to:
All employers in Maine.

What happened?
On July 6, 2021, Governor Mills signed “An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment” (HB 1167) into law.

What are the details?
Effective October 18, 2021, the law will place restrictions on employers requesting an applicant’s criminal history on initial employment applications or certain situations being reached.

The employer is prohibited from requesting or asking about an applicant’s criminal history on applications. Employers are also prohibited from stating on applications or in advertisements that a person with a criminal history cannot apply or will not be considered for a position. Exceptions to this rule are where federal or state law, regulation, or rule create a mandatory disqualification based on a conviction or the employer is required under federal or state law, regulation, or rule to conduct a criminal background check.

The employer may ask about the applicant’s criminal history in an interview or once they have been determined as qualified for the position. If an employer does inquire about an applicant’s criminal history or it is revealed during the process, the employee must be given the opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions, including post-conviction rehabilitation.

There are exceptions to the law’s prohibition where an employer may ask about criminal convictions on the employment application if:

  • The position is one in which any federal or state law or regulation or rule creates a mandatory or presumptive disqualification based on a conviction for one or more types of criminal offenses, and the questions on the initial employment application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the disqualification.
  • The employer is subject to an obligation imposed by any federal or state law or regulation or rule not to employ a person, in either one or more positions, who has been convicted of one or more types of criminal offenses and the questions on the initial employment application form are limited to the types of criminal offenses creating the obligation.
  • The employer is required by federal or state law or regulation or rule to conduct a criminal history record check for the position for which the prospective employee is applying.
  • The employer participates in a program that encourages the employment of persons with criminal convictions.

The law can be read here.

An article on the Law is found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their hiring processes and documents to make any applicable changes to stay in compliance with the new law and not inquire on criminal history prior to when the guidance allows.

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Maine Expands State’s FMLA to Include Care for Grandchildren

Update Applicable to:
Employers in Maine with 15 or more employees.

What happened?
On June 14, 2021, Governor Mills signed L.D. 61 into law.

What are the details?
The law, effective September 16, 2021 (90 days after the end of the session on June 19, 2021) amends Maine’s Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to include care for their grandchild or their domestic partner’s grandchild.

The law has been updated to read “A child, domestic partner’s child, grandchild, domestic partner’s grandchild, parent, domestic partner, sibling or spouse with a serious health condition”.

The law can be read here.

An article on the law is found here.

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review their leave policies and make any applicable updates to stay in compliance with providing FMLA to their employees.

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