Update to Human Trafficking Poster Article


We recently posted an article (link to article) letting employers know that the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) issued a new poster about human trafficking (which you can find HERE). According to the MDOL’s website, that poster is required for all employers.  In Maine, courts give strong deference to agency interpretation of laws so, if the MDOL says something is “required for all,” then that’s the interpretation the judge will utilize.

Nevertheless, a question from one of our Constant Contact readers prompted us to do some additional digging. The actual law (which you can read HERE), recently passed by the legislature on human trafficking and awareness, actually outlines certain employers who are required to put up the poster. But, again, the MDOL’s site makes no such delineation.

In fact, after speaking with Scott Cotnoir at the MDOL, he clarified that indeed only certain employers are required to post the human trafficking posters – that is, those are the employers who will get penalized for failing to put up the poster.  Who are these employers?  This is what the law says:

  • 879. Human trafficking awareness signs
  1. Businesses and employers posting public awareness signs. The following businesses and employers shall post and keep posted in a conspicuous manner that is clearly visible to the public and to employees within their businesses and places of employment public awareness signs provided by the Department of Labor pursuant to subsection 1:
  2. A Department of Labor career center;
  3. An office that provides services under the Governor’s Jobs Initiative Program under section 2031;
  4. A hospital or facility providing emergency medical services that is licensed under Title 22, section 1811;

           *If the hospital does not have an emergency room, the poster is not required. 

  1. An eating and lodging place licensed under Title 22, chapter 562;

            *Note the word AND. A restaurant is not required to put up this poster. A hotel with a restaurant attached is required to.

  1. An adult entertainment nightclub or bar, adult spa, establishment featuring strippers or erotic dancers or other sexually oriented business;
  2. A money transmitter licensed under Title 32, chapter 80, subchapter 1; and
  3. A check cashing business or foreign currency exchange business registered under Title 32, chapter 80, subchapter 2.

            *Note: This applies to places like “Western Union,” but does not apply to federal credit unions.

After our discussion, Mr. Cotnoir agreed that more clarification was needed on the MDOL website. The MDOL is actually going to try (IT issues permitting) to update their website to make the requirements more clear, and may even link to the recently passed law (since it’s kind of hard to find).   Good news!


This article is not legal advice but should be considered as general guidance in the area of employment and corporate law. Bryan Dench, Amy Dieterich, Jordan Payne Hay, and Rebecca Webber are employment and labor law attorneys; others at the firm handle business and other matters. You can contact us at 207.784.3200. Skelton Taintor & Abbott is a full service law firm providing legal services to individuals, companies, and municipalities throughout Maine. It has been in operation since its founding in 1853.