The Legislature’s vote to deputize private attorneys as labor law enforcers “for hire” is an unnecessary, litigious and complicated shift in Maine’s approach to enforcing worker protection laws. Gov. Mills should veto L.D. 1711 and help Maine avert a crisis of new employment lawsuits that further downgrades our state’s abysmal reputation as a place to create jobs.

Maine employers support strong enforcement of laws to protect workers, ensure their safety, keep them free of harassment or discrimination and empower them to raise complaints without fear. L.D. 1711 does not increase worker protections or help the state enforce existing laws. If there is a problem with labor law enforcement, the right answer is to strengthen the agencies responsible: the Maine Attorney General’s Office and the Maine Department of Labor. The wrong answer is to enrich private attorneys for clogging the courts, generate more litigation, usurp the authority of state government and take union jobs away from state employees.

L.D. 1711 is opposed by our state Attorney General’s Office and the Maine Department of Labor, which are responsible for enforcing employment laws. Maine’s attorney general testified that private enforcement under L.D. 1711 actually provides fewer remedies for workers than exist today. The Maine Human Rights Commission, meanwhile, raised concerns that L.D. 1711 will impact the commission’s ability to protect workers from discrimination under the Maine Human Rights Act.

L.D. 1711’s punitive approach will make Maine’s employment landscape more litigious, complicated and adversarial. It will make it even more difficult to grow foundational jobs and Maine’s economy. Please encourage Gov. Mills to veto L.D. 1711.

Ben Lucas
executive director, Maine Jobs Council
Portland

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