Maine has banned the box, added familial status and status as a domestic violence victim to its list of classes that are protected from employment discrimination, and added caring for a sick grandchild as a reason to take family and medical leave. All changes are effective October 18.

Ban the Box

Employers will no longer be able to ask applicants if they have a criminal record until they interview them (or have determined that they’re qualified for the position without an interview). The law specifically prohibits employers from asking for criminal history information on an initial application and also prohibits employers from stating in their job posting that people with criminal history can’t apply or won’t be considered. However, employers can ask about convictions if either a federal or state law or rule:

  • Disqualifies an applicant because of one or more types of criminal convictions and the employer only asks about the disqualifying offenses; or
  • Prohibits the employer from hiring a person who has a criminal conviction and the employer only asks about the types of convictions that would prevent hiring.

Action Items

Remove any questions about criminal history on your application unless one of the above exceptions applies.

Human Rights Act

Familial status and receiving an order of protection from abuse join the list of characteristics that are protected under Maine’s equal employment opportunity law. Familial status means living with a child who is either a minor or an adult who is unable to meet their essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care on their own. An order of protection from abuse is something a person applies for and is granted by a judge when they have been the victim of domestic violence.

Action Items

Update your Equal Employment Opportunity policy to add familial status and status as a domestic violence victim. Ensure that managers and those involved in hiring understand that employment discrimination is now also prohibited based on familial status or having gotten an order of protection from abuse.

Family and Medical Leave

Employees can use their state-mandated family and medical leave to care for a grandchild (or their domestic partner’s grandchild) who has a serious health condition.

Action Item

Update your Family and Medical Leave policy so that caring for a grandchild with a serious health condition is a covered reason for leave.