Enact the Maine Fair Chance Employment Act

Last updated: Jul 9, 2018

Details about this bill
Category: Wage and Labor
Status: Defeated
Sponsor: Representative Rachel Talbot-Ross, House 40
Session: 128
Bill #: LD 1566

Position:

Monitoring.

UPDATE: The bill was vetoed and the House sustained the veto. The bill is dead.

UPDATE: The House voted in favor of the amended bill which only applies to state government employees by an 81-69 vote. If the bill gets vetoed, it will likely not survive.

UPDATE: The bill sponsor unveiled an amended bill which limits the issue to only public sector employers, not private sector. It passed the committee. 

UPDATE: This bill will be carried over to 2018.

Summary:

This bill enacts the Maine Fair Chance Employment Act and adds restrictions to the use of criminal history information in the context of employment decisions by private employers and the State and its political subdivisions and of licensing decisions by licensing agencies.

It prohibits an employer from asking an applicant for employment to disclose information concerning the applicant's criminal history, or considering such information, until after the applicant has received a conditional offer of employment. It restricts the way a private employer, or the State and its political subdivisions, may use criminal history information in the course of making employment decisions and adds similar restrictions to the existing restrictions applicable to licensing agencies' consideration of criminal history information. It also makes certain criminal history information in the possession of the State and its political subdivisions confidential and makes all criminal background check information obtained by the State in connection with an employment decision confidential.

The Maine Human Rights Commission is charged with enforcement of the Maine Fair Chance Employment Act and may seek civil penalties against a private employer for a violation of $1,000 for the first violation and $2,000 for each subsequent violation.

The bill also creates a private right of action that may be brought by an affected individual against a private employer that has violated the Maine Fair Chance Employment Act and, upon prevailing, the affected individual is entitled to such legal or equitable relief as the court may determine appropriate and reasonable attorney's fees and costs.