Tag Archives: Maine law

New Maine Law Restricts Social Media Access

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(Post by Rick Dacri, September 3, 2015)

Beginning October 14, 2015, new legislation in Maine will restricts an employer’s ability to demand information regarding their employee’s or a job applicant’s social media account. The Act applies to both public and private employers, including the state, county and municipalities.

The Act prohibits employers from requiring, coercing or requesting an employee or job applicant to provide their employer with the password or other means of accessing his/her social media accounts.  This applies to any online account or service through which users share, view or create user-generated blogs, videos, instant and text messages, e-mails, and photographs.  The law also prohibits employers from requiring, coercing or requesting an employee or job applicant access to a personal social media account in the presence of the employer. Under the Act, employers are prohibited from discharging, disciplining or otherwise penalizing or threatening to discharge, discipline or otherwise penalize an employee for refusing the employer’s request made in violation of these restrictions.

Dacri Recommendation: 1)Train all your managers, supervisors and recruiters on the new
law. 2)Policies and procedures should be updated.

This update is merely a summary of the key points of the Act. Call me for a more detailed review.

This topic will also be covered in Dacri’s upcoming webinar series, Accelerated Supervisory Development Program for Municipal Managers.

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Independent Contractor Standards for Maine

Maine’s new definition of an independent contractor applies to unemployment, wage and hour and worker’s compensation cases according to the State Department of Labor Press Release

 The new independent contractor definition goes into effect Dec. 31, 2012, replacing the current definitions under both the Workers’ Compensation Act and the Maine Department of Labor. Both agencies will operate under the same definition for all cases originating after the effective date.

This new law clarifies the conditions under which a worker should be classified as an employee or as an independent contractor. The independent contractor standard will be applied uniformly in the unemployment, wage and hour and worker’s compensation laws.

Under the new law, both the Maine Workers’ Compensation Board and the Maine Department of Labor will use the new standard to determine whether a person who performs services for payment is an employee or an independent contractor. Independent contractors must be free from the essential direction and control of the employing party and meet several other criteria.

Also included in this new law are clear penalties to deter the intentional misclassification of workers as independent contractors when they are employees per the standard. This practice not only creates a competitive disadvantage for those employers who correctly classify their workers but also increases unemployment tax premiums because fewer employers are paying appropriate taxes. Therefore, the new law includes penalties ranging up to $10,000 to deter this practice.

The criteria of the new law: Continue reading

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Voting: Some States Require Employee Time Off To Vote

November 6 is election day and many of your employees will want to vote. You should know that some states have enacted laws requiring employers to allow employees time off to vote, sometimes with pay, subject to the individual’s hours of work and the times when the polls are open. In some states, employers are required to post notices in advance of an election, advising employees of their rights. Violation of many of these statutes is a misdemeanor punishable by a fine.

Different states have different requirements. Here the requirements in the seven states in the Northeast:

Connecticut: No specific laws requiring time off.

Maine: No specific laws requiring time off.

Massachusetts: Employers are required to grant an employee time off to vote during the first two hours after the polls open, if the employee requests time off during that period. Only those who are employed in a “manufacturing, mechanical, or mercantile establishment” are eligible for time off under this provision. Time off for voting need not be paid.

New Hampshire: None, but if a person must be physically present at work or in transit to and from work from beginning to end of polling hours, she may apply to vote by absentee ballot.

New York: Employees who do not have 4 consecutive non-working hours between polls opening and closing, and who do not have “sufficient” non-working time to vote, are entitled to up to 2 hours paid leave to vote. Employees must request the leave between 2 and 10 days before Election Day. The employer can specify whether it be taken at beginning or end of shift. Employers must post this rule conspicuously 10 days prior to election.

 Rhode Island: No specific laws requiring time off.

Vermont: No specific laws requiring time off.

Employers may want to post voting times for employees and state laws for covering absentee ballots.

 Rick Dacri

Dacri & Associates, LLC

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