Maine was the first state in the U.S. to require anti-sexual harassment training. The law, Title 26, section 807 of the Maine Revised Statutes, was initiated by the Maine Women’s Lobby in 1991 to ensure that workplaces are free of sexual harassment.
The law requires all employers in Maine with at least 15 employees to provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees and managers. Additional key points include:
- All new employees, including managers and non-managerial staff, must receive training within one year of hire date
- Training programs must include:
- The definition of sexual harassment under state and federal laws
- A description of sexual harassment using examples or scenarios
- The internal complaint process and legal recourse for victims
- Reference to the right of victims to be free retaliation for asserting their rights under the Human Rights Act
- Training for managerial employees must include information regarding their specific responsibilities for taking “immediate and appropriate” corrective action to address sexual harassment complaints
Penalties for Not Complying
Maine’s Human Rights Commission can invoke penalties against employers who fail to meet Maine’s sexual harassment training requirements. Fines may be assessed by the Maine Department of Labor as follows:
- First violation: $1,000
- Second violation: $2,500
- Third or subsequent violation: $5,000
Additionally, employers who don’t provide the required training will have a more difficult time defending themselves in the event of a sexual harassment lawsuit. They will be unable to demonstrate that they took “reasonable steps” to prevent sexual harassment from occurring.
Ryley Learning offers an e-learning course that complies with Maine’s sexual harassment prevention training requirements. The core course is designed for corporate-wide training and includes animated episodes, real-life scenarios, and interactive activities to ensure understanding.