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Maine Adds Protected Classes, Amends Disability Requirements

Effective October 18, 2021, the Maine Human Rights Act (MHRA) is amended to prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of an individual’s familial status or actual or perceived gender identity.

The MHRA is also amended to clarify an employer’s obligations regarding the employment of individuals with a physical or mental disability.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should update their employee handbooks including their equal employment, non-discrimination/non-harassment policies, and any related training materials to include these additional protected classes. In addition, hiring managers and recruiters should be aware of these requirements and be properly trained on any updated recruiting practices and employment documents.

How HR Works Can Help

Creating and updating an employee handbook can be overwhelming and expose employers to unnecessary risk. The policies offered by HR Works reflect the latest federal and state workplace compliance guidance and human resource best practices. HR Works can assist employers in developing a compliant employee handbook, in addition to providing annual updates. Our handbook service covers all 50 states, so clients who are in multiple states can receive state specific addendums to accompany their handbook.

As an added benefit, our Virtual Helpline Service can offer guidance to employers related to federal and state employment laws based on employer size and a host of other compliance related topics and HR best practice recommendations. Clients who are active Virtual Helpline subscribers receive our annual legal updates, regardless of whether HR Works developed the organization’s handbook.

Employers who are not current handbook clients or do not subscribe to the Virtual Helpline and would like more information on either of these services or information on HR Works’ other service offerings may contact for a referral to a HR Works Business Development team member.

HR Works, headquartered in Upstate New York, is a human resource management outsourcing and consulting firm serving clients throughout the United States for over thirty years. HR Works provides scalable strategic human resource management and consulting services, including: affirmative action programs; benefits administration outsourcing; HRIS self-service technology; full-time, part-time and interim on-site HR managers; HR audits; legally reviewed employee handbooks and supervisor manuals; talent management and recruiting services; and training of managers and HR professionals.