Maine News & Analysis

  • Governor Mills signs legislation restricting noncompete agreements

    On June 28, 2019, Governor Janet Mills signed An Act to Promote Keeping Workers in Maine. The new law restricts the enforceability of certain noncompete agreements and authorizes the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) to impose civil penalties for employers in violation of some of the express limitations. It also places a complete prohibition on restrictive employment agreements—or "no-poach" agreements—and authorizes fines for violations.

  • Significant changes to the Maine Human Rights Act on the horizon

    The Maine Legislature has been busy this past session making substantive changes to the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA). Employers should be aware of the changes that will take effect on September 19 and modify certain rights and duties under the Act.

  • Individual coverage HRAs probably not option for 2020

    On his very first day in office, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to lessen the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) burden on the organizations and individuals who were subject to its requirements. More than two years later, the ACA is limping along, but the Trump administration is still working to carry out that order.

  • How to identify and minimize employee burnout

    You may have seen reports recently that the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified employee burnout as a diagnosable medical condition. While that's not exactly accurate, the group has expanded its definition of the term in its latest edition of the International Classification of Diseases.

  • Can we pay employees for not smoking?

    Q Can we offer a small cash bonus to employees who either are nonsmokers currently (verified by a short questionnaire) or who smoke/chew tobacco today but complete a smoking cessation program? Is there a cap on how much we can offer or how the dollars can be paid?

  • Union Activity

    UAW urges Congress to review labor laws. The United Auto Workers (UAW) in June called on Congress to take a comprehensive look at the country's labor laws and rules from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) affecting the UAW's ability to form a union at the Volkswagen plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. UAW spokesperson Brian Rothenberg said Volkswagen was able to delay bargaining and a vote "through legal games." Calling the labor laws "broken," Rothenberg said workers shouldn't have "to endure threats and intimidation in order to obtain the right to collectively bargain." He said current law "caters to clever lawyers who are able to manipulate the NLRB process."

  • Maine legislators make 4 key changes to state's workers' compensation law

    As expected, the 129th session of the Maine Legislature recently concluded with four significant changes to the state's workers' compensation law.

  • Bonuses and vacation time: Clear contracts, policies are Maine employer's friend

    Do you offer employees a bonus program or other forms of incentive pay? What about payouts for accrued vacation time? Those kinds of programs can be a great way to boost productivity and increase morale. But a lack of clarity in the terms can result in unpaid wage claims. A recent Maine case underscores the importance of providing clear terms and expectations for your bonus programs.

  • Supreme Court ruling raises stakes in Title VII claims

    If an employee files a timely Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charge, can she later raise new discrimination allegations after the filing deadline has passed? That's the issue addressed in a new decision from the U.S. Supreme Court. Spoiler alert: The answer is no, unless the employer—or more accurately, its attorney—doesn't notice. To understand the Court's ruling, it's helpful to understand the EEOC's role in discrimination claims.

  • DOL updates opinion on independent contractors for the gig economy

    Under the Trump administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has taken a decidedly industry-friendly approach to the independent contractor analysis. If there was any doubt before, that was made clear by its recent issuance of a whopping 10-page opinion letter examining the nature of the relationship between a virtual marketplace company (think Uber) and the "gig" workers they employ (e.g., Uber drivers).