Maine “Ban the Box” Law for Private Employers Takes Effect October 18, 2021

Ban the Box

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On July 6, 2021, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed “Ban the Box” legislation titled Legislative Document (LD) 1167 (HP 845) into law to prohibit private employers from requesting criminal record information from applicants on initial applications or stating ex-offenders may not apply for a job. The law will take effect on October 18, 2021.

LD 1167 prohibits employers from requesting criminal history record information on initial job applications or stating on initial job applications or advertisements or specifying prior to determining applicants are otherwise qualified for the job that applicants with a criminal history may not apply or will not be considered for a job.

LD 1167 provides exceptions to prohibitions where federal or state laws, regulations, or rules mandate that a criminal conviction disqualifies an applicant for a position, or requires an employer not to hire an applicant who convicted of a certain type of offense, or requires an employer to conduct a criminal history record check.

The “Ban the Box” movement seeks to remove the box that applicants with criminal histories are asked to check on applications and delay inquiries in criminal histories until later in the hiring process. Employers who violate LD 1167 will be subject to a penalty of not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each violation.

On April 5, 2019, Governor Mills signed LD 170 (HP 133), which prohibited questions about criminal history on applications for jobs in state government. The law did not apply to jobs with a political subdivision of the state, jobs in school administration, or positions for which applicants may be ineligible because of criminal records.

As of July 2021, 36 states have “Ban the Box” laws for public employers. Fifteen states – California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington – and the District of Columbia banned the box for private employers.

“Ban the Box” laws and Second Chance Programs that help ex-offenders in the United States – an estimated 70 million people – find work will continue to evolve, according to leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which compiled the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2021.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – which was named the #1 screening firm by HRO Today in 2020 – offers a white paper on “Ten Critical Steps for Ex-Offenders to Get Back into the Workforce,” an “ESR Ban the Box Resource Guide,” and a Ban the Box Resource Page. To learn more about ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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