Maine Passes Ban the Box Legislation

This bill creates new obligations for employers with employees in Maine, and HR teams should review job applications and job postings.

Employers who hire in Maine should take note. A flurry of new laws were passed in a special session of the 130th Maine Legislature. Among them was Maine LD 1167 which adds Maine to a growing number of states which “ban the box” for private employers.  These types of laws essentially block inquiries into an applicant’s criminal history until later in the hiring process. The intended result is that an employer will consider a job applicant’s qualifications first, without the stigma of them revealing a conviction. These laws typically remove criminal record inquiries from the job application, and delay them until the interview process has begun or after a conditional offer of employment has been made.

Governor Mills signed LD 1167 into law on July 6, 2021. It specifically prohibits an employer from asking about criminal history on an initial employee application form, but does allow inquiries once an applicant has reached the interview stage or other determined to be qualified for the position. Employers should also note that the legislation has implications for job postings. It prohibits an employer from stating on an initial employee application form (or advertisement) that a person with a criminal history may not apply or will not be considered for a position.

The new law does have a few exceptions including situations where federal or state law, regulation, or rule creates a presumptive disqualification for certain criminal history, imposes an obligation on an employer not to employee an applicant who has been convicted of certain types of offense, or requires that an employer conduct a criminal history record check.

The Maine Department of Labor will enforce the new requirements, and an employer who violates any of these provisions is subject to a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each violation.

 


 

Fair Screen is a background screening company dedicated to helping employers fairly use criminal records in the hiring process. Contact Us to learn more about how a well-tuned screening process can speed the time to hire, include more job applicants, and help ensure your consistency and compliance. Help us make a difference!