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State Labor Laws, 2003 - page 15 / 27

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prohibited from working before 7 a.m. or after 7 p.m. on any day prior to a day during which school is in session or after 9 p.m. on any day prior to a day during which school is not in session. No minor under the age of 16 who has not graduated from high school is to be employed more than 40 hours in any one week.

Worker privacy. Any employer who has conducted a background check of an em- ployee or prospective employee after hav- ing obtained his or her written consent or at the request of the owner or operator of any facility where the employer performs or may perform all or part of its work will be im- mune from civil liability for claims arising out of the disclosure of the background in- formation obtained. The limitation of liabil- ity will extend to all claims of the employee based upon a failure to hire, wrongful termi- nation, and invasion of privacy, as well as all claims of any owner, operator, or any third person for claims of negligent hiring or negli- gent retention.

The law governing public records was amended to specify that all medical records, claim forms, insurance applications, re- quests for the payment of benefits, and all other health records of public employees, public officials, and their dependents in the personnel records of any public body will be confidential.

The law governing public records was amended to add the name and account num- ber of any financial institution to which the public employee’s wages or salary are di- rectly deposited by an electronic direct de- posit payroll system or other direct deposit payroll system to the list of items in the personnel records of a public employee body that will be confidential.

Private employment agencies. The employ- ment agency regulatory law was amended to exempt employer-fee-paid employment services from testing, licensing, and bond- ing requirements.

Inmate labor. The ban on participation in work release programs by persons convicted of production, distribution or possession with intent to distribute cocaine or marijuana was amended to permit participation, during the last 6 months of their terms, by any per- son convicted of distribution or possession with intent to distribute cocaine where the offense involved less than 28 grams of co- caine or by any person convicted of distri- bution or possession with intent to distrib- ute marijuana where the offense involved less than one pound of marijuana.

Other laws. The prohibition against dis- charging an employee who is called to serve or who is serving on jury duty was amended to also prohibit any other adverse employ- ment action. The protection was modified to apply if the employee notifies his or her employer of a summons within a reasonable period of time after its receipt and prior to his or her appearance for jury duty. A Lengthy Trial Fund is to be established to provide full or partial wage replacement of up to $300 per day to jurors who serve for more than 10 days on civil and criminal petit juries if conviction of the alleged crime car- ries a sentence of 20 years or more at hard labor, and whose employers pay less than full regular wages during the jury service.

After military leave with pay has been exhausted, any State employee called to ac- tive duty service in the uniformed services of the United States pursuant to a declara- tion of war, congressional authorization, or presidential proclamation pursuant to the War Powers Resolution, or national emer- gency whose military base pay is less than his or her State base pay must be paid the difference between the military base pay and the State base pay in his or her regular posi- tion. The payment is to be made in the same frequency and manner as the employee’s regular State pay. Any employee receiving the pay differential is to provide to his or her employer all such documentation appropri- ate to ensure that the amount of the pay- ment is accurately calculated.

A resolution was adopted urging the State Department of Labor to review its operation of the incumbent worker training program in rural areas, in that the current process for applying for admission into the program is tedious and is difficult for companies in rural areas.

willful violation, the action must then be brought within 3 years.

A resolution was adopted pertaining to the legislative review of the proposed Rules Governing Alternative Methods of Payment of Overtime for Certain Drivers and Driver’s Helpers, a substantive rule of the Depart- ment of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics which was submitted to the legislature for review as required by law. The resolution stated that the Department of Labor was to ask the Attorney General to provide a legal opinion as to the ability of the Department of Labor to take into account hours worked outside of the State when determining whether overtime pay is required for work within the State. The Department of Labor was to meet in September 2003 with the Joint Standing Committee on Labor in order to report on the Attorney General’s opinion and the department’s response to the opin- ion including any proposed changes to the rule.

The prevailing wage law was amended to raise the dollar threshold amount for public works construction contracts let by the State from $10,000 to $50,000.

Contractors and subcontractors in charge of the construction of a public work must now keep accurate records showing the names and occupations and wages and ben- efits of all independent contractors working under contract with them as well as all la- borers, workers and mechanics employed by them as before. A copy of each such record is to be filed monthly with the public authority that let the contract. The filed record is a public record except that the au- thority must adopt rules to protect the pri- vacy of personal information such as Social Security numbers and taxpayer identifica- tion numbers.

Maine

Wages. As the result of prior legislation, the State minimum wage rate rose from $5.75 to $6.25 per hour on January 1, 2003.

A law was enacted which permits, to the extent permitted under the Federal Fair La- bor Standards Act, public employees of the executive or judicial branch of the State to be awarded compensatory time in lieu of over- time pay. Additionally, limitations have been placed on the recovery of unpaid overtime wages for executive or judicial branch em- ployees. In actions to recover such wages, the judgment or award is limited to the com- pensation due without liquidated damages or attorney’s fees. Such actions must be brought within 2 years after the cause of ac- tion accrued. When the cause arises from a

Child labor. The section of the child labor law regarding prohibited hazardous employ- ment for minors under age 18 was amended to provide that the Director of the Bureau of Labor Standards is to adopt rules prohibit- ing any such minor from working in confined spaces or at a designated height when regula- tions of the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration require special pre- cautions or procedures for such work. The rules must provide exceptions to the prohi- bition in specific exceptional circumstances, such as work required for public safety.

Worker privacy. The law providing for employee access to their personnel files was amended to require that, in each cal- endar year, the employer must provide, at no cost to the employee, one copy of

Monthly Labor Review

January 2004

17

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