LD 278: “An Act Regarding Pay Equality” Sponsored by Senator Catherine Breen
4/2/2019 An amended bill passed both House and Senate.
Summary: This amendment strikes and replaces the bill. The amendment prohibits an employer from inquiring about a prospective employee’s compensation history until after an offer of employment that includes all terms of compensation has been negotiated and made to the prospective employee. It creates an exception for compensation history sought pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically requires the disclosure or verification of compensation history for employment purposes, for example, when such information is related to economic development programs that specifically create employment opportunities for persons with low incomes. An employer that violates this provision is subject to a fine of not less than $100 and not more than $500 per violation and is also subject to a civil action that may be brought by or on behalf of an affected employee or applicant by the Department of Labor or the affected employee or applicant.
This amendment also amends the Maine Human Rights Act to provide that evidence of unlawful employment discrimination includes an employer’s seeking information about a prospective employee’s compensation history before an offer of employment, including all terms of compensation, to the applicant has been made. It also creates an exception for compensation history sought pursuant to any federal or state law that specifically requires the disclosure or verification of compensation history for employment purposes.
Summary of original bill: This bill amends the Maine Human Rights Act to provide that evidence of discrimination with respect to compensation includes an employer seeking information about a prospective employee’s prior wage history before an offer of employment, including all compensation, to the prospective employee has been made. It provides that this discrimination is also evidenced by an employer requiring that a prospective employee’s prior compensation history meet certain criteria. The bill broadens a provision in the current equal pay law to prohibit an employer from preventing employees from discussing or disclosing other employees’ wages and makes the practice a violation of the Maine Human Rights Act as well.
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