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Maine Enacts Law Prohibiting Criminal History Inquiries

On July 6, 2021, Maine’s Governor Janet Mills signed the state’s Fair Chance in Employment Act (HP 845) which prohibits employers from:

  • Requesting criminal history record information on an initial job application; or
  • Stating on an initial application or in a job advertisement, or otherwise specifying, before determining whether someone is qualified, that those with a criminal history cannot apply or will not be considered, unless:
  • The job is regulated by federal or state law which disqualifies applicants because they were convicted of certain criminal offenses and the questions asked on the initial application are limited to those convictions; or  
  • The employer is obligated by federal or state law to not employ someone convicted of certain criminal offenses and the questions on the application are limited to those convictions.

Employers can ask about an applicant’s criminal history during an interview or once they are determined to be qualified for the job. However, if an employer asks about an applicant’s criminal record information, they must give the applicant a chance to explain the information and its related circumstances, including post-conviction rehabilitation.

The law is effective October 18, 2021. 

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