New year brings new minimum wage, posting requirements in Portland

January 06, 2016 0 COMMENTS

by Peter Lowe

A new year means different things for different people, but for Portland employers, the first of the year means a new hike in the minimum wage along with related posting requirements.

The new minimum wage, set at $10.10 per hour for all employees, comes as the result of a municipal ordinance passed in July that went into effect January 1. The ordinance also mandates a wage increase in 2017 (to $10.68) and annual adjustments based on the Consumer Price Index for all years 2018 and beyond.

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Maine Law Court issues groundbreaking discrimination opinion

January 31, 2014 0 COMMENTS

by Peter D. Lowe and Connor Beatty

On Thursday, January 30, Maine’s Supreme Judicial Court issued a groundbreaking and controversial decision. The Law Court ruled that a school district discriminated against one of its students when it told the student she couldn’t use the female restroom because she is transgendered. Although this decision directly affects places of public accommodation, it also may have major ramifications for employers. The decision calls into question whether it’s permissible to have separate-sex bathrooms at all under current law.

Background

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New Maine law on independent contractors goes into effect December 31

December 17, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Peter D. Lowe

Maine employers need to pay attention to a new Maine law on the definition of “independent contractor” that goes into effect December 31.

Legislative Document 1314, passed in Maine earlier this year, outlines two sets of conditions that must be in place for an individual to qualify as an independent contractor for purposes of workers’ compensation and unemployment compensation. In the first tier of criteria, to meet the definition of an independent contractor, an individual must:

  • Have the “essential” right to control the particulars of the work (except the final results);
  • Be engaged in an “independently established” business;
  • Have the opportunity to experience either a profit or a loss as a result of the services performed;
  • Hire, pay, and supervise the work of any assistants; and
  • Make his services available to other clients or consumers in the community.

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Maine passes gay marriage initiative

November 08, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Peter D. Lowe

On Tuesday, 53 percent of Mainers voted to allow same-sex marriage. Question 1, which asked “Do you want to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples,” was an indirect initiative. That means that because supporters collected the required number of signatures by January 2012 and the Maine Legislature failed to pass the bill in the first half of the year, the question was put up for a popular vote. Significantly, the referendum reverses the position that Mainers took in 2009 in a similar referendum and marks the first time in U.S. history that same-sex marriage has been enacted by popular vote.

Maine should see the effects of the vote very early next year. The secretary of state has 20 days to approve election results before sending them along to the governor, who must certify them within 10 days. The law goes into effect 30 days after being certified—likely sometime in January 2013. Be on the lookout for an article discussing how this could affect your workplace in the next issue of Maine Employment Law Letter.

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Maine Tightens Up Law on Service Animals

September 20, 2011 2 COMMENTS

Until recently, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations were quite broad in their definition of “service animal,” but that changed earlier this year. Now Maine, which had kept the definition loose in state law, also is tightening up on what constitutes a service animal.

Employers must provide reasonable accommodations not only for employees with disabilities but also for customers with disabilities. Employers that operate retail stores, banks, service centers, and other locations open to the public are probably places of public accommodation under the law.

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