Maine Discrimination laws & HR compliance analysis

Maine Discrimination: What you need to know

The Maine Human Rights Act prohibits discrimination in employment based on based on race, color, sex (including pregnancy and related medical conditions), sexual orientation, gender identity, physical or mental disability, religion, age, ancestry, national origin, or familial status (ME Rev. Stat. Tit. 5 § 4551 et seq.). Discrimination based on sex includes sexual harassment. An employer may not discriminate against individuals because they have filed a claim or otherwise asserted their rights under the Act.
Effective July 19, 2022, the term “race” includes traits associated with race such as hair texture, Afro hairstyles, and protective hairstyles. A “protective hairstyle” is defined to include braids, twists, and locks.
The Act covers all employers in the state, out-of-state employers with employees working in the state, employment agencies, and labor unions.
Religious organizations. Nonprofit religious corporations or associations are not considered employers under the Act and may give preference to applicants or employees of the same religion.
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Under the Act, it is unlawful for an employer to take any of the following actions based on an individual's protected characteristic or because the individual has asserted his or her rights under the Act:
• Fail to hire, refuse to hire, or otherwise discriminate against any applicant for employment.
• Discharge an employee or discriminate with respect to hiring, tenure, promotion, transfer, compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment or any matter directly or indirectly related to employment.
• Utilize any employment agency that the employer knows or has reason to know discriminates unlawfully.
• Elicit or attempt to elicit preemployment ...

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