Update on Maine Employment Legislation
Recently, Governor Mills signed into law LD 598, An Act to Prohibit Discrimination in Employment and School Based on Hair Texture or Hairstyle. The bill amends the public accommodation definition section of the Maine Human Rights Act to add “protective hairstyle”, defined as including braids, twists and locks. The Act further amends the definition section to indicate that “race” for purposes of fair employment includes “traits associated with race, including hair texture, Afro hairstyles and protective hairstyles.” The amendment is based on language adopted in at least one other state and is referred to as the CROWN Act, which stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural hair. The amendment is not emergency legislation and will go into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns sine die.