Maine employers can’t ask about criminal history until job offer made – but can ask about medical history?

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The following contains editorial content that is the personal opinion of the author.

AUGUSTA, ME- As our country continues to swirl down the toilet bowl, state legislatures continue to implement laws and policies that coddle criminals while making things more difficult for law-abiding citizens.

The latest example comes to us from what used to be the great state of Maine, where a new law prohibits employers from asking about somebody’s criminal history—until they’ve already been offered the job.

According to Liberty Daily, Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D), who during the height of the coronavirus pandemic was one of the most intrusive and hard-nosed governors, just signed the bill which prevents employers from asking about previous criminal history.

However they are able to ask potential employees personal health information—meaning whether or not they’ve subjected themselves to the COVID vaccine.

The new measure was approved by the Maine legislature in the final days of their most recent legislative session. The bill says that companies can only ask about criminal backgrounds until potential employees have gone through the preliminary hiring process.

In other words, employers must pay for candidates to go through the process only to see them potentially disqualified due to prior arrests. Employers must make a conditional offer of employment prior to asking about only criminal convictions. Prior arrests or charges are off limits.

There is an exemption in the law for cases where a previous felony conviction prohibits a prospective employee from being considered for the opening. The law provides penalties of up to $500 for each violation to be enforced by the Maine Department of Labor.

However, employers are still permitted to ask about vaccine status of potential employees prior to giving a conditional job offer. In other words, convicted felons, illegal aliens and potential domestic terrorists, at least in the state of Maine, have more rights than law-abiding citizens who, for whatever reason have decided not to get the COVID vaccine.

According to those who support the measure, they claim it will help companies hire more people.

“Mainers’ past mistakes should not continue to damage their chances of employment and economic prosperity for the rest of their lives,” said James Myall, a policy director at the Maine Center for Economic Policy in testifying in favor of the bill.

“These inquiries create new barriers to opportunity to Mainers who have served their time and are trying to re-enter society in one of the most central ways; by getting a job and earning an income.”

He cited statistics showing that more than one in six Maine residents—139,000 people between the ages of 18 and 64—have been arrested at least once in their life.

“Because Maine does not have an organized process for sealing or expunging criminal histories, records of these arrests follow Mainers for their entire lives.”

Organized labor also supported the bill, claiming it will help more qualified job prospects get hired.

In testimony to Maine lawmakers, AFL-CIO political director Adam Goode said that asking prospective employees about previous criminal convictions is “a barrier to working people, is bad for business and prevents people from working.”

“Qualifications of job applicants should be considered first, without an immediate conviction inquiry that serves to discourage people from apply to jobs and functions as a screen that artificially weeds out qualified workers,” Goode said.

Others however opposed the measure, including the Maine chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, who argued it would prevent smaller employers from properly vetting prospective workers.

Maine is one of some 14 states and the District of Columbia which have approved so-called “ban the box” policies, according to the National Employment Law Project.

In 2019, Congress passed the “Fair Chance to Compete for Jobs Act,” banning “the box” on job applications for positions with federal agencies and private employers that contract with the federal government.

Good to know that felons are held in higher regard than people who have exercised their right to not get the jab.

For one of our previous reports on the state of Maine, this time concerning COVID restrictions, we invite you to:

DIG DEEPER

BANGOR, ME- Law Enforcement Today has reported extensively about the ridiculous, over-the-top “emergency” executive orders that have been put in place ostensibly due to the coronavirus.

We have also reported on the fact that most of these regulations have been put in place by overzealous Democratic governors who expect in many cases the police to enforce them. Of course, our complaint is primarily that cops are being put in an untenable situation.

First of all, after the death of George Floyd, who were the ones who were accused of being “systemically racist?

Cops.

Who were accused of “hunting down” black men for the purposes of killing them?

Cops.

Who were called Nazis, Gestapo and storm troopers?

Cops.

Who were shot, assaulted, run over, had commercial-grade fireworks shot at them, and were hit with skateboards, ball bearings, frozen water bottles and bricks?

Cops.

Secondly, who were politicians looking to defund, remove legal protections from, and cancel from schools? Cops. Who were networks “canceling”, from COPS to Live PD to PAW Patrol?

Cops.

Now, because it’s convenient, police are being put in the position of being “COVID Cops.” And truth be told, most are not interested in doing that.

No cop wants to be put in the position of arresting a mother for not social distancing while watching a soccer game or giving someone a citation because they aren’t wearing a mask at the local fast-food joint.

We would offer that most cops wouldn’t want to be put in the position of arresting a bar owner for having the audacity of trying to provide for their family.

Why? Because police are human beings, and most realize that an overwhelming majority of these “emergency” orders are simply governors and mayors exercising their newfound power. Police also see these same government officials busting the very orders they force their citizens to endure. Cops hate hypocrisy. Especially when they are being put in the middle.

We recently came across a Facebook post from the Bangor, Maine Police Department and we found it to be very instructive not only for the citizens of Bangor, but for the rest of the country as well.

 

One of their lieutenants, who goes by the initials “TC” responded to a question ostensibly posed by a resident of Bangor. They asked:

“Hey Bangor PD, was someone charged with a mask violation at the local big-box store?”

TC- “That’s a hard no.”

“I will tell you that the narrative you choose to believe will have much to do with your opinion on pandemically related issues. I will only give you factual information as my opinion doesn’t matter, and frankly neither does yours.”

As the lieutenant explained, a store has the right to make or enforce a rule. As the owner of private property, they have the right to do that. If a customer breaks the rule, they have the absolute right as the owner or manager of the store to ask you to leave their establishment for any reasons which they determined to be valid.

Having experienced this in my career, an officer would not sit there and negotiate between the store and the customer. Simply put, that is not the job of a police officer to do that.

The lieutenant explained that people are asked to leave private property every day for one reason or another. He said that reasons may be varied, and there is in most states a law that covers that. In Connecticut it’s called Criminal Trespass, and there are varying degrees of it.

Simply put, if the management of a privately held store or other enterprise asks you to leave, you are obligated to do so. It is not up for negotiation.

He notes that most people are not happy about that, and in most cases, neither are the police. They do not want to be put in that position.

He addressed Maine Title 17A SECTION 402 (also known as the criminal code).

Under subsection D of the statute, he explained, this law is also called criminal trespass. It is defined essentially that you have been asked to leave, but you won’t. The police don’t care, as addressed previously about the reason a person is refusing to leave, since they do not own the property.

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LET Unity

In a case like this, police show up because they are called. In the state of Maine, if an officer shows up and is informed the management wants a person to leave the store, that person must leave. Different states have a variation of this, sometimes it needs to be in writing, however if the management says someone has to leave, they must leave. No questions asked.

A majority of people will leave when asked to do so. There are those, typically who went to the Facebook School of Law that think they do not have to leave.

Now, this trespass complaint can really be for any reason at all, but since we started out talking about ridiculous orders from governors mandating the wearing of a mask inside a building, refusing to do so gives a business official the right to ask someone to leave, or to refuse entry.

So basically, what this means is that if someone refuses to wear a mask, then refuses to leave the premises after a request to do so, this kicks in criminal trespass.

If someone is in fact arrested for this, they are not being arrested for not wearing a mask. They are being arrested for not leaving a premises when asked to do so.

LT TC notes correctly that criminal trespass is used every day all across the country by police officers. And the bottom line is, if a business owner or their agent wants you to leave, guess what? You have to leave. Because as a property owner, they have that right. The statutes are simple actually. If you refuse to leave, chances are you get arrested. That decision isn’t up to the police officer…it’s up to the person who refuses to leave.

Civil remedies are always available to someone who feels they were wrongly asked to leave a premises. For example, an obvious occasion where a civil action might be engaged would be if someone was denied entry due to belonging to a protected status and were being banned solely for that reason.

That is not a criminal act enforceable by cops. It is a civil action.

So, while police are being criticized for being COVID cops, understand that in most cases, if they are put in the position of having to issue a citation or make an arrest, it isn’t for the COVID violation specifically. Now clearly there are cases (which we won’t get into here) where some cops might appear to overstep a bit (Staten Island) but that’s for another story.

So, in closing, LT TC of the BPD noted that despite stories being circulated about cops showing up because someone “doesn’t want to follow the rules,” that’s not the case.

Most officers will show up trying to suggest alternatives and maybe broker an agreement between the sides so that everyone can go home happy.

In the particular case in question, nobody was charged for failing to follow the rules at the big box store. People were told to leave, based on a request by the management of the store. The LT notes that thus far in Bangor, Amine, nobody has been charged with failing to follow the orders of Governor Mills.

“End of story. We will continue to enforce the state laws and statutes as we have since the mid-1800s.

“Thank you.

“LT TC BPD”

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