Whistleblowers' Protection Act
26 MRSA§831 et seq.
Subchapter 5-B: PROTECTION OF EMPLOYEES WHO REPORT OR REFUSE TO COMMIT ILLEGAL ACTS
26 MRSA §831. Short title
This subchapter may be cited as the "Whistleblowers' Protection Act."
As used in this subchapter, unless the context indicates otherwise, the following terms have the following meanings.
- Employee. "Employee" means a person who performs a service for wages or other remuneration under a contract of hire, written or oral, expressed or implied, but does not include an independent contractor engaged in lobster fishing. "Employee" includes school personnel and a person employed by the State or a political subdivision of the State.
- Employer. "Employer" means a person who has one or more employees. "Employer" includes an agent of an employer and the State, or a political subdivision of the State. "Employer" also means all schools and local education agencies.
- Person. "Person" means an individual, sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, association or any other legal entity.
- Public body. "Public body" means all of the following:
- A state officer, employee, agency, department, division, bureau, board, commission, council, authority or other body in the executive branch of State Government;
- An agency, board, commission, council, member or employee of the legislative branch of State Government;
- A county, municipal, village, intercounty, intercity or regional governing body, a council, school district or municipal corporation, or a board, department, commission, council, agency or any member or employee thereof;
- Any other body which is created by state or local authority or which is primarily funded by or through state or local authority, or any member or employee of that body;
- A law enforcement agency or any member or employee of a law enforcement agency; and
- F. The judiciary and any member or employee of the judiciary.
§833. Discrimination against certain employees prohibited
- Discrimination prohibited. No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because:
- The employee, acting in good faith, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports orally or in writing to the employer or a public body what the employee has reasonable cause to believe is a violation of a law or rule adopted under the laws of this State, a political subdivision of this State or the United States;
- The employee, acting in good faith, or a person acting on behalf of the employee, reports to the employer or a public body, orally or in writing, what the employee has reasonable cause to believe is a condition or practice that would put at risk the health or safety of that employee or any other individual. The protection from discrimination provided in this section specifically includes school personnel who report safety concerns to school officials with regard to a violent or disruptive student;
- The employee is requested to participate in an investigation, hearing or inquiry held by that public body, or in a court action;
- The employee acting in good faith has refused to carry out a directive to engage in activity that would be a violation of a law or rule adopted under the laws of this State, a political subdivision of this State or the United States or that would expose the employee or any individual to a condition that would result in serious injury or death, after having sought and been unable to obtain a correction of the illegal activity or dangerous condition from the employer; or
- The employee, acting in good faith and consistent with state and federal privacy laws, reports to the employer, to the patient involved or to the appropriate licensing, regulating or credentialing authority, orally or in writing, what the employee has reasonable cause to believe is an act or omission that constitutes a deviation from the applicable standard of care for a patient by an employer charged with the care of that patient. For purposes of this paragraph, "employer" means a health care provider, health care practitioner or health care entity as defined in Title 24, section 2502.
- Initial report to employer required; exception. Subsection 1 does not apply to an employee who has reported or caused to be reported a violation, or unsafe condition or practice to a public body, unless the employee has first brought the alleged violation, condition or practice to the attention of a person having supervisory authority with the employer and has allowed the employer a reasonable opportunity to correct that violation, condition or practice.
- Prior notice to an employer is not required if the employee has specific reason to believe that reports to the employer will not result in promptly correcting the violation, condition or practice.
- Reports of suspected abuse. An employee required to report suspected abuse, neglect or exploitation under Title 22, section 3477 or 4011-A, shall follow the requirements of those sections under those circumstances. No employer may discharge, threaten or otherwise discriminate against an employee regarding the employee's compensation, terms, conditions, location or privileges of employment because the employee followed the requirements of those sections.
§834-A. Arbitration before the Maine Human Rights Commission
An employee who alleges a violation of that employee's rights under section 833, and who has complied with the requirements of section 833, subsection 2, may bring a complaint before the Maine Human Rights Commission for action under Title 5, section 4612.