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Total Articles: 31

Noncompete Reform Continues in New England: Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island All Pass New Laws

Noncompete reform continues to crop up in New England. We previously wrote about comprehensive reform in Massachusetts late last year, and now three more states have passed legislation in recent weeks. All three states – Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island – now prohibit employers from entering noncompetition agreements with low-wage employees, though the definition of “low wage” varies by state.

Maine and New Hampshire Join the Ranks of States Restricting Use of Noncompete Agreements – with Rhode Island on the Cusp

In recent weeks, Maine and New Hampshire each enacted a law prohibiting the use of noncompete agreements with lower wage earners. Shortly thereafter, on July 11, 2019, the Rhode Island legislature sent a similar bill to Governor Raimondo’s desk for signature.

Maine Enacts Law Extending Protections to Pregnant and Nursing Employees

On June 27, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills signed into law L.D. 666, which extends existing protections for pregnant and nursing employees in Maine. The act, entitled “An Act to Protect Pregnant Workers,” creates broad protections for workers, covering any limitation of an employee’s ability to perform their job due to pregnancy, child birth, or related medical conditions including lactation. The act also amends existing provisions of 5 M.R.S.A. § 4572-A to make the section’s protections gender-neutral.

Maine Expands Antidiscrimination Law and Restricts Noncompete Agreements

Lawmakers in Maine closed out the 2019 legislative session with a flurry of activity. Legislators passed more than 500 bills this year, including 50 on the final day, with many targeting the state’s employment laws.

Maine Signs into Law Consumer Privacy Law

The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), which goes into effect January 1, 2020, is considered the most robust state privacy law in the United States. The CCPA seems to have spurred a flood of similar legislative proposals on the state level, and started a shift in the consumer privacy law landscape. Many of these proposals end up dying somewhere along the rigorous legislative process, but in the last few weeks both Maine and Nevada signed into law bills that, although much more narrow than the CCPA, certainly bear resemblance.

New Maine Law Requires Time Off From Work For Appointments at VA Medical Facilities

State and local leave laws are changing weekly and sometimes even daily! For the second time this month, Maine is adjusting its leave laws. Employers in Maine will soon be required to provide veterans with time away from work to attend scheduled appointments at Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities. If paid leave is available to the veteran, he or she must be permitted to use paid leave for the absence. If a veteran has no available paid leave, then the employer must allow the veteran to take unpaid leave. Veterans are required to give their employer notice of the appointment “as soon as reasonably possible.” The law goes into effect on September 19, 2019.

New Maine Law Requires Employers to Provide Employees Paid Leave to Use for ‘Any Reason’

Maine Governor Janet Mills has signed into law “An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave,” the first law in the nation to allow employees to use mandated paid leave for any reason. The new law, signed on May 28, will take effect on January 1, 2021. Approximately 85 percent of Maine’s private sector employees will receive paid leave under the new law.

Maine Earned Leave Act: Maine Really is the Vacation State

On May 28, 2019, Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) signed into law a groundbreaking new statute requiring Maine employers (even small businesses) to provide paid time off beginning January 1, 2021. The law is the first of its kind in the nation to require paid time off, for any reason, including vacation time. Unfortunately, for employers, the law is short on specifics, leaving it to the state labor department to – hopefully – issue rules that will assist employers with many open questions about the their rights and obligations under the act.

Maine Enacts Nation’s Strictest Data Privacy Restrictions on Internet Service Providers

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, Maine governor Janet Mills signed into law new data privacy protections for Maine residents. The law, entitled “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information,” places new restrictions on Internet service providers (ISPs), effective July 1, 2020. The law prohibits the use or sale of customer information without those customers opting in to having their data shared.

Timed Out: Continuous Rep Doctrine Denied in Maine

You generally know the drill: a plaintiff has limited time to file suit. Generally, the statutory period begins when the plaintiff knows or reasonably should know that she has been harmed and that the defendant caused that harm.

Maine Governor Could Sign Bill Enacting Nation’s Strictest Data Privacy Law for Internet Providers

The Maine legislature has passed a bill imposing the nation’s strictest limitations on broadband providers’ use of consumer data. On May 30, 2019, the Maine State Senate approved the House’s amended version of Legislative Document (LD) 946, entitled “An Act To Protect the Privacy of Online Customer Information,” which now awaits Governor Janet Mills’s signature.

Maine Becomes the First State to Mandate Paid Leave for Any Reason

On May 28, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed L.D. 369, making Maine the first state to require that private employers provide earned paid leave—not just sick leave—to employees.

Paid Leave Law in Maine Passes Legislature and Waits for Governor Signature

The Maine legislature recently passed An Act Authorizing Earned Employee Leave. If Governor Mills, who has been vocal in her support of the bill, signs the bill into law, it would take effect on January 1, 2021.

Maine Moves Toward Mandating Earned Employee Leave

Maine is one step closer to requiring that private employers with 10 or more employees provide “earned paid leave” that employees can take for any reason.

In Step with National Trend, Maine Passes Salary History Ban

On April 12, 2019, Maine’s Governor, Janet Mills (D), signed L.D. 278, a pay equity bill titled “An Act Regarding Pay Equality.” The law amends existing pay equity legislation and generally prohibits employer inquiries into the salary history of prospective employees until after an offer of employment has been made. Maine is the latest state in New England to pass legislation imposing this prohibition, following Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Vermont.

Maine Enacts Pay Equality Law Banning Salary History Inquiries

Governor Janet Mills of Maine signed a pay equality bill into law on April 12, 2019, that bans employers from asking job applicants about their salary histories and broadens existing wage transparency requirements.

Maine’s New Recreational Marijuana Law Permits Employers to Enforce Policies Restricting Use

Maine’s new recreational marijuana law permits employers to enforce workplace policies restricting the use of marijuana and to take disciplinary action in accordance with those workplace policies.

Maine Department of Labor Provides No Guidance Concerning the Impact of the State’s Recreational Marijuana Law on Workplace Drug Testing

Effective February 1, 2018, a provision in Maine’s recreational marijuana law impacts workplace drug testing. As we previously blogged here, the law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions for off-premises marijuana use, as of February 1, 2018. On its face, this law effectively prevents Maine employers from testing for marijuana for pre-employment purposes, and has other impacts as well.

Maine Recreational Marijuana Law Limits Workplace Drug Testing As Well As Disciplinary Consequences Imposed By Employers

A provision of Maine’s recreational marijuana law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions for off-premises marijuana use, as of February 1, 2018. This law effectively prevents Maine employers from testing for marijuana for pre-employment purposes. The law also affects employers who employ employees subject to federal drug and alcohol testing regulations as well as those employers who are exempt from complying with Maine’s drug testing law.

Maine Recreational Marijuana Law Limits Drug Testing, Disciplinary Consequences Imposed by Employers

A provision of Maine’s recreational marijuana law prohibits employers from taking adverse employment actions for off-premises marijuana use, as of February 1, 2018. This law effectively prevents Maine employers from testing for marijuana for pre-employment purposes. The law also affects employers who employ employees subject to federal drug and alcohol testing regulations, as well as those employers who are exempt from complying with Maine’s drug testing law.

Maine Employers Must Ignore Off-Work Marijuana Use, Cease Testing Applicants

On February 1, 2018, Maine will become the first jurisdiction in the nation to protect workers from adverse employment action based on their use of marijuana and marijuana products, provided the use occurs away from the workplace. In preparation for this change, the Maine Department of Labor has removed marijuana from the list of drugs for which an employer may test in its “model” applicant drug-testing policy. Although wrangling between the state legislature and Governor Paul LePage has delayed the retail sale of marijuana, the remaining provisions of Maine’s “Question 1 – An Act to Legalize Marijuana” (“the Act”), are slated to move forward despite fears doing so will hurt business in the state.

Maine’s Governor Vetoes Bill to Regulate Commercial Sales of Marijuana

On November 3, 2017, Maine Governor Paul LePage announced that he had vetoed a bill sent to his desk with tepid support that would have taxed and regulated the commercial sale of recreational marijuana. The veto prolongs a somewhat odd state of affairs in Maine in which Mainers may legally possess and cultivate recreational marijuana for personal use, but the commercial sale of recreational pot has yet to be authorized. Accordingly, so-called “pot shops” have not been allowed to open in the state. In November of 2016, Maine voters approved a recreational marijuana ballot initiative that legalized the possession of up to 2.5 ounces of recreational marijuana by residents 21 years of age or older, as well as the cultivation of up to six adult marijuana plants for personal use. The ballot initiative also approved the commercial sale of recreational marijuana, but Maine’s legislature has yet to allow that to happen.

The Fight for 15: Montgomery County, Maryland, Raises the Bar

Montgomery County, Maryland, has approved Bill 28-17, which increases the countywide minimum wage from $11.50 to $15.00. The nine-member Montgomery County Council voted unanimously in support of the bill on November 7, 2017, and County Executive Isiah Leggett signed the measure into law on November 13, 2017.

Governor’s Veto of Recreational Marijuana Law Upheld by Maine House

The Maine House of Representative upheld November 6, 2017 Governor Paul R. LePage’s veto of a bill to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana. The 74-62 vote fell 17 votes short of the two-thirds margin required to override the Governor’s veto. The bill had been drafted by a special committee that was supposed to implement a law after Maine voters approved recreational marijuana in November 2016.

Maine Delays Implementation of Certain Provisions of Recreational Marijuana Law

Last November, Maine was one of four states in which voters approved a new recreational marijuana law. Maine’s law took effect on January 30, 2017; however, emergency legislation passed on January 27, 2017 delayed the implementation of certain provisions of the law.

Maine Delays Effective Date of Anti-Discrimination Provisions of Recreational Marijuana Law

On November 8, 2016, Maine voters approved “Question 1”—An Act To Legalize Marijuana (“ALM” or “the Act”). “Emergency” legislation since passed by the Maine legislature and signed by Governor Paul LePage now provides employers with operations in Maine a temporary reprieve from complying with the anti-discrimination provisions of the ALM until February 1, 2018.

Share Right to Light? Maine’s New Marijuana Law Prohibits Employers from Discriminating Against Recreational Users

An important provision in the recreational marijuana ballot initiative approved by Maine voters back in November has so far generated limited buzz among Maine employers, but they will need to pay closer attention now that key portions of the law are set to take effect in just a few weeks on January 30, 2017. Specifically, the initiative makes it legal for Mainers age 21 or over to possess up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for personal use and to keep and cultivate up to six adult marijuana plants. While employers may take solace in the fact that the initiative expressly exempts them from having to tolerate marijuana use, possession, transport or employees being under the influence of marijuana in the workplace, employers need to be aware that the law also prohibits them from refusing to employ or otherwise penalizing persons 21 years of age or older solely because the person uses marijuana recreationally outside the employer’s property.

New Maine Social Media Privacy Law Takes Effect October 15, 2015

Maine has become the latest state to restrict employers’ ability to access social media accounts of employees and applicants. A new Maine statute, which will go into effect on October 15, 2015, prohibits a broad range of employer conduct. Specifically, an employer may not:

Maine Joins New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Illinois as Newest State Plan Protecting State and Local Employees

OSHA recently approved Maine as the newest State Plan responsible for protecting the safety and health of state and local government employees. Under the approved plan, the Maine Department of Labor is designated as the state agency responsible for the development and enforcement of occupational safety and health standards applicable to state and local government employment throughout the state. OSHA retains full authority for coverage of private sector employees in the State of Maine, as well as for coverage of federal government employees.

Maine Enacts Law Restricting Employer Access to an Employee's or Job Applicant's Social Media Accounts

Maine has now enacted legislation that restricts an employer’s ability to demand information regarding an employee’s or job applicant’s social media account. The passage of H.P. 640 - L.D. 921, An Act to Strengthen the Rights of a Victim of Sexual Assault or Domestic Violence to Take Necessary Leave from Employment and to Promote Employee Social Media Privacy (the “Act”), was not without controversy. The Act, sponsored by Rep. Matthea Daughtry (49th Dist.) and Sen. James Hamper (19th Dist.), was passed by the Maine Senate and House of Representatives on June 30, 2015.

The Difference Between Cloth and Leather Gloves?

At least that is the thought one might take from a jury verdict at the end of May in Maine state court. As reported by Michael Afthim's counsel, Peter Thompson and Associates in their blog, Maine Employment Lawyer, his complaints about the working conditions of the men he supervised led to his termination and subsequent suit under the Main Whistleblowers' Protection Act
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