Sexual Harassment Training Maine

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Maine law requires sexual harassment training for all employees and supervisors

Maine’s state law requires employers with 15 or more employees in the workplace to provide sexual harassment training to all employees. (26 M.R.S.A §807)

By when must new employees be trained?

Training must be provided within one year of hire for new employees. Supervisors must be trained within one year of obtaining a supervisory position.

 

What must be included in the training content?

The Maine sexual harassment training law requires that the training include, at a minimum:

  • A written notice of the illegality of sexual harassment
  • The definition of sexual harassment under Maine state law
  • A description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples
  • The internal complaint process available to the employee
  • The legal recourse and complaint process available through the Maine Human Rights Commission
  • Directions on how to contact the Maine Human Rights Commission
  • The protection against retaliation, as provided pursuant to Maine law (Title 5, section 4553, subsection 10, paragraph D.)

In addition, supervisors must receive additional training content on:

  • The specific responsibilities of supervisory and managerial employees
  • Methods that supervisors and managers must take to ensure immediate and appropriate corrective action in addressing sexual harassment complaints.

Clear Law Institute’s online sexual harassment training covers all required elements of Maine law. In addition, the training covers not just sexual harassment, but all forms of workplace harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. The training also addresses topics required by other laws such as bystander intervention, workplace civility, and bullying.

Do employers need to keep records of the training?

Maine employers must keep a record of the training, including a record of employees who have received the required training. Training records must be maintained for at least 3 years and must be made available to the Maine Department of Labor’s inspection upon request.

Clear Law Institute’s online sexual harassment training allows employers to track completion electronically in its Learning Management System, greatly reducing the burden of tracking employee completion internally.

Are there penalties if employers do not comply with the training requirements?

Maine law (Title 26 M.R.S.A §807) states that an employer who does not provide the required training may be assessed a fine by the Maine Department of Labor as follows:

  • First violation: Fine of $1,000
  • Second violation: Fine of $2,500
  • Third or subsequent violation: Fine of $5,000

Employee Notification Requirement

In addition to requiring sexual harassment training, Maine law also requires employers to provide all employees annually “individual written notice” describing sexual harassment and the protections against such harassment. This notice “must be delivered in a manner to ensure notice to all employees without exception, such as including the notice with an employee’s pay.”

This notice must include, at a minimum:

  • The illegality of sexual harassment
  • The definition of sexual harassment under state law
  • A description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples
  • The internal complaint process available to the employee
  • The legal recourse and complaint process available through the Maine Human Rights Commission
  • Directions on how to contact the Maine Human Rights Commission
  • The protection against retaliation, as provided pursuant to Title 5, section 4553, subsection 10, paragraph D

Posting Requirement

Employers must post in a “prominent and accessible location in the workplace” a poster that “may meet but may not exceed 6th-grade literacy standards.” The poster must include the following information, at a minimum:

  • The illegality of sexual harassment
  • A description of sexual harassment, utilizing examples
  • The complaint process available through the Maine Human Rights Commission
  • Directions on how to contact the Maine Human Rights Commission

The Maine Human Rights Commission can provide this poster to employers, free of charge. This poster can be reproduced by employers.

Are there penalties if employers do not comply with the posting requirement?

Maine law (Title 26 M.R.S.A §807) states that an employer who does not provide the required training may be assessed a fine by the Maine Department of Labor as follows:

  • First violation: a fine up to $25 per day, not to exceed $1,000
  • Second violation, occurring within 3 years of a prior violation: a minimum fine of $25 per day, up to $50 per day, not to exceed $2,500
  • Third violation, occurring within 3 years of 2 or more prior violations: a minimum fine of $25 per day, up to $100 per day, not to exceed $5,000.

What should employers do now?

Employers should take the following steps:

  • Determine if the Maine sexual harassment notice, posting requirements, and training laws apply to your organization.
    • Do you have 15 or more employees?
    • Do you regularly receive services via contract from 15 or more persons?
  • Provide annual written notice to all employees.
  • Ensure a poster, with the required information, is displayed in a prominent and accessible location in the workplace.
  • Training
    • Ensure that your harassment training is updated to address the new content requirements of the Maine laws. (Clear Law Institute offers online sexual harassment training that covers these requirements for both employees and supervisors.)
    • If using online training, determine who will answer questions submitted by users. (Users of Clear Law’s online sexual harassment training can ask questions and have those questions answered within one business day by Clear Law or a client official.)
    • Train all employees within one year of hire.
    • Train all supervisors within one year of beginning a supervisory/managerial role.

Where can I learn more?

Clear Law Institute continually monitors updates to federal and state laws to ensure that its online training is legally accurate and up-to-date. Clear Law Institute’s online course,  Positive Workplace, is used by hundreds of employers across the nation, including several Fortune 500 companies. Learn more about Preventing Harassment at Work and view a free course demo.

About the Author

Michael Johnson, CEO of Clear Law Institute, is a former U.S. Department of Justice attorney who brought one of DOJ’s first “pattern or practice” sexual harassment cases. He has provided training and consulting on harassment prevention or investigations to organizations around the world, such as the EEOC, the United Nations, and Google. He is a graduate of Duke University and Harvard Law School.  Read more about Michael here. 

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