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.
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 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 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.
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.
In 2019, a number of states’ minimum wage rates will increase.
On July 1, 2018, a number of states’ and localities’ minimum wage increases went into effect.
In 2018, the federal minimum wage will remain at $7.25 per hour for non-tipped employees and $2.13 per hour for tipped employees. The following table summarizes the statewide minimum wage increases that have been announced for 2018, along with the related changes to the maximum tip credit permitted and minimum cash wage allowed for tipped employees.
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.
The First Circuit Court of Appeals, in a case of first impression, recently issued an important ruling that will have a major impact on transportation companies using arbitration agreements in the states and territories located within the First Circuit (Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico).
In a recent decision, Buntin v. City of Boston, the First Circuit Court of Appeals held that there is no implied private right of action for damages against state actors under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981.
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.
Individuals wishing to begin the new year by taking a beloved pet or emotional support animal out to a restaurant may run into new legal deterrents in some states. While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) entitles people with disabilities to bring “service animals” into public places such as restaurants and stores, many individuals do not realize which animals the law covers.
Effective January 1, 2017, 29 states plus the District of Columbia will have minimum wage rates that are above the federal minimum wage rate of $7.25 per hour. The District of Columbia will continue to have, as it did last year, one of the highest minimum wage rates in the country at $11.50 per hour until July 1, 2017, and $12.50 per hour after that date. With respect to state minimum wages, Massachusetts and Washington will have the highest minimum wages at $11.00 per hour effective January 1, 2017, with California close behind at $10.50 per hour (for employers with 26 or more employees), effective January 1, 2017, and Connecticut following at $10.10 per hour, effective January 1, 2017.
In 2016, 17 states and the District of Columbia implemented increased minimum wage rates. This year, even more states are scheduled to do so.