Before you conduct Maine background checks on any candidate, you should be aware of the state’s restrictions on the use of background checks and criminal background information. Below, we have compiled a list of relevant limitations.
Use of conviction records
Maine employers are free to use any criminal conviction details in their hiring decisions. With that said, we recommend following EEOC guidance and considering each conviction based on how it relates to the job at hand. You should assess convictions based on age, severity, and relevance to specific job responsibilities. The EEOC has filed discrimination and disparate impact lawsuits against businesses that make criminal history an absolute bar to employment even in states without significant legal restrictions on the books.
Use of arrest records
As with conviction data, there is no law on record in Maine that prohibits employers from considering arrest information in their hiring decisions. However, arrest information in Maine is rarely made public unless the arrest led to a conviction. The report for this Maine state background check will only report convictions and will exclude all arrest information. Employers should be wary about asking candidates about arrests, either on a job application or in an interview. The Maine Human Rights Commission has issued guidance on this subject warning employers that it may lead to unlawful racial discrimination.
Ban the Box
Currently, there is no ban the box legislation on the books in Maine either at the state or local level. However, the ban the box movement has been spreading quickly in recent years and there is certainly a chance it will come to Maine at some point. It is in the best interest of employers to follow new developments on this subject, as they may influence the timing and execution of a background screening process.