Maine News & Analysis

  • Why Maine employers shouldn't sleep on wage and hour concerns

    For employers that don't employ individuals to work traditional business hours, wage and hour law can be fraught with pitfalls. One area to watch out for concerns sleep time. Some jobs require employees to be on call overnight, and they may be routinely awakened to perform their duties. In this situation, what exactly are the employer's obligations? A recent case from the Maine Supreme Judicial Court sheds some added light on the question.

  • Significant paid leave legislation signed into law

    After many months of negotiations, Maine appears on the verge of enacting significant new paid leave legislation. Governor Janet Mills recently signed Legislative Document (LD) 369, which goes into effect January 1, 2021, and requires many Maine employers to offer paid leave. With that in mind, here are some of the changes you can expect.

  • Supreme Court will decide whether LGBT discrimination is unlawful

    The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide the long-unresolved question of whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects employees from discrimination based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. The issue has been percolating in the lower courts for quite a while. As it frequently does, the Court declined to consider the question until there was a conflict between several appellate courts. Let's take a look at the history of the Court's decisions, the arguments on both sides of the issue, and what we can expect next.

  • September 30 deadline looms for newly required EEO-1 data

    Employers required to submit EEO-1 reports to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) are venturing into uncharted territory as they work to collect newly required information due by September 30. While they may be accustomed to submitting traditional EEO-1 information—data on employees' race/ethnicity and gender, or what's being called Component 1 data—this year they also must compile data on compensation and hours worked, or what's being called Component 2 data.

  • Feeling stressed? Take it outside

    We all need a breath of fresh air sometimes. With summer starting up, we should be able to find plenty of ways to get away from our desks—even just for a break. And Alaska's natural beauty can be a perfect cure for employees' work-related stress. This article addresses the unwanted consequences of work stress and the benefits of encouraging employees to spend time outside.

  • Can we require an employee to see the doctor?

    Q We have a new employee who has a significant odor problem. According to him, the smell is connected to a foot infection. Numerous coworkers have complained to management. The employee isn't eligible for benefits yet, so he has put off going to the doctor, but his manager said he must go for both his own health and the issue it's causing with coworkers. Are we crossing any lines by requiring him to see a doctor?

  • Union Activity

    AFL-CIO report details causes of worker deaths. The AFL-CIO in April released a report on worker deaths in 2017 showing that 5,147 workers were killed on the job and an estimated 95,000 died from occupational diseases. The report says that every day, on average, 275 U.S. workers die because of hazardous working conditions. The report calls workplace violence the third leading cause of workplace death, accounting for 807 deaths in 2017, including 458 homicides. There was a small decrease in the overall rate of fatal injuries from the previous year ― 3.5 per 100,000 in 2017, down from 3.6 per 100,000 workers in 2016. In recent years, however, there has been little overall change in the job fatality rate. The report also says recent studies show the toll of occupational diseases is greater than previous estimates.

  • Policy or preference? When the distinction makes a difference

    Every employer has a set of policies it likes its employees to follow. Workplace policies can cover topics such as how tasks are completed, how employees request time off, and the qualifications necessary to perform certain aspects of a job. But formal written policies aren't the only things dictating how a workplace runs. Often, managers and supervisors have informal practices and preferences that may be equally important to the work environment.

  • Maine adopts significant new pay equity legislation

    Sex discrimination with regard to pay has been illegal at the federal level for decades under both Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. There's a similar prohibition on sex-based pay discrimination in Maine. Despite the existence of such measures, the pay gap remains real, and states continue to pass new laws to address it. Employers should be aware of one such law recently passed in Maine.

  • DOL says FMLA leave mandatory for employees and employers

    After more than 25 years, you might think questions regarding proper interpretation of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) would be settled. It's a highly regulated law, and it provides employers far more detail and clarity than they get with most other labor and employment laws.