It is part of your civil right to be employed or to seek employment and be free from harassment or discrimination. There are laws to protect you from such behavior in all aspects of employment. You should be aware of what constitutes harassment/and or discrimination so that you can be sure; sometimes things that seem unfair are not against the law. There are both federal and state laws that prohibit discrimination in the workforce. Most states even have their own agency or department dedicated to the regulation of these laws. In Maine, the agency charged with enforcing the states laws about discrimination is the Maine Human Rights Commission, they not only investigate and try to resolve complaints in employment but housing, education, access to public accommodations, and extension of credit as well.
According to Maine (ME) job discrimination law in the workplace, it is deemed unlawful for any employer to fail or refuse to hire or otherwise discriminate against any applicant for employment because of race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, age, ancestry or national origin. They also may not discriminate based on a prior claim or action taken by an individual previously regarding discrimination. If an employer uses any employment agency that the employer knows or has reasonable cause to know discriminates against individuals because of any of these characteristics, the employer would be in violation of the law. Maine (ME) job discrimination law in the workplace does not only apply to the hiring of individuals but all matters of employment, including recruitment, training, tenure, promotion, transfer, compensation, terms, conditions or privileges of employment.
Employers, employment agencies or labor organizations, prior to employment or admission to membership of any individual may not elicit or attempt to elicit information directly or indirectly pertaining to race or color, sex, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, religion, age, ancestry or national origin; to do so is punishable under Maine (ME) job discrimination law in the workplace.
The Maine Human Rights Act outlines the Maine sexual discrimination law in the workplace. Under this law, it is illegal for employers to discriminate against someone on the basis of sex.
The Maine Human Rights Act defines employers as any member of the state who employs any number of people within the state as well as people outside the state who employ people whose main workplace is within the state. It also includes agents of the employer and labor organizations. It excludes religious or fraternal nonprofit associations.
Employees are all of those who are employed by an employer as defined above except for those employed by their parent, spouse or child.
Under the Maine Human Rights Act, it is illegal for employers to discriminate in terms of hiring and firing and making decisions based on promotions and conditions of employment as well as compensation on the basis of an employee’s (or potential employee’s) sex. This also includes discrimination based on pregnancy. Pregnancy needs to be treated as would any other disability or illness.
Anyone wishing to file a complaint must do so within six months of the alleged discriminatory act with the Maine Human Rights Commission. Filing consists of filling out an intake questionnaire. After filing, the Commission will send your complaint and a letter to your employer and give your employer an opportunity to respond to the complaint.
From there, an investigator will collect the needed information regarding your complaint and will work with you and your employer to settle the case. If there is no settlement reached, the investigator will recommend a reasonable cause or no reasonable cause decision to the Commission. The Commission then votes to make the final decision on the case.
If you’d prefer to go through the federal or state courts instead of the Commission, you’ll need to first request a “Right to Sue Letter” from either the EEOC or the Maine Human Rights Commission.
Employers are also required to keep an updated Maine Complete Labor Law poster posted in the workplace to help keep everyone informed of their rights and responsibilities in the workplace.