Another Legal Update for Employers

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Maine’s New Fair Chance in Employment Labor Law Now in Effect

AUGUSTA – Multiple updates to Maine labor law went into effect on Monday, October 18, 2021, including ‘An Act Relating to Fair Chance in Employment.’ This new law prohibits employers from inquiring about an individual’s criminal history on an initial employment application and from stating in employment advertisements that an individual with a criminal history may not apply.

An employer may inquire about a prospective employee’s criminal history during an interview or once the prospective employee has been determined otherwise qualified for the position. If an employer inquires about a prospective employee’s criminal record, the prospective employee, if still eligible for the position under applicable federal or state law, must be afforded an opportunity to explain the information and the circumstances regarding any convictions, including post-conviction rehabilitation.

There are exceptions if a background check is required or if it would be inappropriate for an individual with a certain criminal history to apply.

The Maine CareerCenters have a universal application that employers can use either as their actual application or as an example when creating their own: https://www.maine.gov/labor/careerctr/docs/2019/GenericEmploymentApplicationMaineRevised7219.pdf

More information about this and other labor law updates can be found here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/labor_laws/llupdates/2021/index.shtml

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