Maine employers and HR professionals understand the importance of completing pre-employment background checks as part of the hiring process. Maine employment background checks give employers crucial information about applicants and help ensure that they are making good hiring decisions.
Working with a qualified employment background check provider like iprospectcheck can give you confidence that the information you receive is accurate, complete, and FCRA-compliant. We understand all aspects of the state of Maine’s background check process.
We conduct background checks for employers in all of Maine, including Oxford County, York, and Ellsworth.
In this article, we’ll discuss the requirements for a Maine background check for employment and how you can remain in compliance with state and federal laws.
Maine Employment Background Check Laws: A Complete Overview
When you conduct Maine employment background checks, you must comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Complying with the legal requirements that apply helps to avoid fines, penalties, and potential litigation. Here is an overview of the relevant state and federal laws.
Federal Laws on Employment Background Checks
The Federal Trade Commission enforces the Fair Credit Reporting Act, which is a federal law that governs hiring practices and how background information can be used across the U.S. This law was enacted to protect the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information and controls how it is gathered, used, and shared by employers.
Employers are required to get applicants’ authorizations before they complete pre-employment background checks. The FCRA also controls what employers must do if they decide against hiring applicants based on the information discovered through background checks.
When you partner with iprospectcheck, you can feel confident that we comply with the FCRA and will assist you to remain compliant throughout the hiring process.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other federal anti-discrimination laws. Under these laws, you must individually assess criminal history information revealed on an applicant’s background check report as it relates to the open position.
Maine State Laws on Employment Background Checks
Employers need to be aware of several laws in Maine when they conduct pre-employment background checks.
Employers that want to conduct pre-employment drug screens must first develop and submit their drug testing policies to the Maine Department of Labor for approval to comply with the state’s Substance Use Testing Law and notify employees and applicants that they intend to implement a program.
The Maine Medical Use of Marijuana Act also addresses how employers use pre-employment drug screens for hiring purposes. Under 22 MRSA § 2430-C(3), employers may not refuse to employ applicants on the basis of the applicants’ status as medical marijuana patients unless hiring the applicant would place the employer in violation of federal law or if the employer would lose federal funds or federal contracts.
In general, employers may conduct pre-employment drug screens, including for marijuana. The Medical Marijuana Act does not prohibit employers from testing for marijuana or refusing to permit its use in the workplace as long as the employer has gained approval from the Maine Department of Labor for its drug testing policy.
Because of the differences in how medical and recreational marijuana are treated under Maine’s laws, it is a good idea for employers to speak to their legal counsel when drafting drug testing policies for applicants and employees.
Maine also has a social media law for employers. Under 26 MRSA §616, employers are prohibited from doing the following things with applicants and employees regarding their social media accounts:
- Requiring, coercing, or requesting the disclosure of the applicants’ and employees’ passwords
- Requiring, coercing, or requesting applicants or employees access their social media accounts in the employer’s presence
- Requiring or coercing applicants to disclose information about social media accounts
- Requiring applicants or employees to adjust their privacy settings to allow employers to view the accounts
- Penalizing, discharging, or failing to hire applicants or employees based on their refusal to give employers access to their social media accounts
Maine employers who hire direct access workers, including in healthcare, childcare facilities, schools, and other licensed facilities are required to conduct comprehensive background checks, including criminal history searches, for applicants under 34-B MRSA §1225 and 22 MRSA §9054.
For state government employees not including schools and those required to be licensed under the previous sections, Maine has a ban-the-box law found at 1.5 MRSA § 792. This law prohibits state governmental employers from asking about criminal history information on their applications and during the early phases of the employment process.
What is on a Maine Background Check?
Depending on your needs, a Maine pre-employment background check can be basic or robust. At iprospectcheck, we can complete a large variety of background check reports for applicants.
However, the most common types of information that employers in Maine request on their background check reports include criminal history information, employment history verification, and education verification.
Here is what you can expect to see on each of those reports.
When an applicant has criminal incidents in his or her history, you will see the following information about the offense(s) in question:
- Specific charge
- Date the case was filed
- Disposition of the charge
- Disposition date
- Severity of the charge – misdemeanor or felony
- Sentencing information
You can assess this information as it relates to your open position.
Employment verification can help you to confirm your applicants’ past employers, employment dates, and positions held. Requesting a verification of employment can help to ensure your applicants are honest and qualified while allowing you to prevent negligent hiring liability.
Education verification reports will help you to verify the institution your applicants attended, the attendance dates, and any diplomas, degrees, or certificates earned. This type of report helps ensure you hire trustworthy and qualified candidates.
How Far Back Does a Background Check Go in Maine?
Maine pre-employment background checks must comply with the FCRA and its restrictions on how far back adverse information can be reported and used to disqualify applicants for employment.
The FCRA has a seven-year lookback period, meaning you will not see information about arrests that are more than seven years old. There is a salary-cap exception to this restriction for positions that pay more than $75,000.
The FCRA’s time limitations do not apply to conviction information from more than seven years. When you work with a reputable background check provider like iprospectcheck, you can be confident your background check reports are fully FCRA-compliant.
The legal restrictions of the FCRA do not apply to education, employment, and other types of background information. These types of information can be reported and considered regardless of age.
How to Get a Background Check in Maine
Employers can request criminal history reports from the Maine State Bureau of Identification with the Maine State Police. This agency is tasked with maintaining a central repository of criminal records within the state of Maine.
Employers that provide services and care for vulnerable populations may also use the Maine Background Check Center, which was created by a partnership between the Maine Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Public Safety.
You will not receive all relevant information when you rely on state background checks in Maine. The State Bureau of Identification will only return criminal records from within Maine and will not include details about convictions that might have occurred in other jurisdictions. Only licensed providers of direct care services may use the Background Check Center, and it will only return information about disqualifying convictions.
Conducting background checks through the state will not provide you with other types of information about your applicants, including their educational qualifications and employment histories.
It is best to work with a good third-party background check company like iprospectcheck. With us, you can be confident that the reports you receive are FCRA-compliant, complete, and accurate.
How Much Does a Background Check Cost in Maine?
If you order a background check through the state, you will have to pay a fee of $31 per report. You might find some providers online that advertise free background screen reports. These sources should not be used because the information they provide is often unvetted and inaccurate and could expose you to liability.
Your best option is to work with a trustworthy provider like iprospectcheck. We leverage extensive access to databases and advanced research skills to provide reliable and comprehensive background check reports quickly. You can also choose the specific types of background check reports you need for your business so you will not pay for unnecessary information.
We have a broad menu of other types of background reports that you can select. If you will need more than 50 reports each year, we offer volume discounts. Call us for a free quote: 888-808-9997
How Long Does a Background Check Take in Maine?
The length of time involved with the background check process will depend on the avenue you choose. If you decide to order background checks from the state, it might be a few weeks before you receive your reports.
This is a good reason to work with iprospectcheck. Because of our access to reliable databases and advanced research tactics, we can provide background check information to you more quickly.
iprospectcheck: Your Trusted Partner for Fast, Accurate, Compliant Maine Background Checks
Pre-employment background checks are critical for the success and protection of your business. When you conduct background checks, it can help to protect you from liability while ensuring you make fully-informed hiring decisions.
At iprospectcheck, we have the training and resources necessary to quickly return comprehensive, accurate, and FCRA-compliant background check reports for our clients in Maine. Our professional employees undergo extensive training and have access to our advanced technology and vast resources to find the information you need.
Contact iprospectcheck today to request a quote and to learn more about the pre-employment background check services we can offer to you.
DISCLAIMER: The resources provided here are for educational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Consult your counsel if you have legal questions related to your specific practices and compliance with applicable laws.