Maine has enacted two pieces of legislation (Legislative Document 1294 and Legislative Document 1688) that prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants and employees based on their familial status, gender identity, or status as a domestic violence victim who seeks or receives an order of protection. The laws take effect October 18, 2021.
The Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) prohibits all employers from discriminating against individuals based on their:
· Sex (Includes pregnancy and related medical conditions)
· Sexual orientation
· Physical or mental disability
· National origin
· Filing a claim or asserting a right under Maine’s Worker’s Compensation Act or Whistleblower’s Act
Legislative Document 1294:
Under Legislative Document 1294, employers are also prohibited from discriminating against an applicant or employee because they are a domestic violence victim who seeks or receives an order of protection.
Legislative Document 1688:
Under Legislative Document 1688, employers are also prohibited from discriminating against applicants and employees because of their familial status or gender identity.
The law defines familial status as a family unit that contains:
· One or more individuals who have not attained 18 years of age and are living with a parent or another person having legal custody of the individual or individuals or the designee of the parent or other person having custody with the written permission of the parent or other person; or
· One or more individuals 18 years of age or older who lack the ability to meet essential requirements for physical health, safety, or self-care because the individual or individuals are unable to receive and evaluate information or make or communicate decisions.
The MHRA defines gender identity as the gender-related identity, appearance, mannerisms, or other gender-related characteristics of an individual, regardless of the individual's assigned sex at birth.
Maine employers should review practices, policies, and training to ensure compliance with Legislative Documents 1294 and 1688. Please contact your dedicated service professional with any questions.