The Maine Legislature is looking for ways to reduce the length of time it takes for the Maine Human Rights Commission (MHRC) to investigate discrimination complaints. The MHRC is the state agency that investigates complaints of unlawful discrimination in employment as well as other settings. The Legislature has asked the MHRC to provide it with ideas on how to reduce the length of time it takes to investigate complaints. The MHRC recently held a meeting open to the public on this topic.
The Legislature’s call to reduce the amount of time it takes the MHRC to investigate complaints of employment discrimination comes amidst a nationwide surge in employment discrimination complaints. According to a recent report from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), last year it received more complaints of employment discrimination than at any time in its 45 year history. Many believe high unemployment is a reason for the increase. “I think when people are less likely to find a new job, they’re more inclined to file a charge of discrimination,” EEOC spokeswoman Justine Lisser said. “Whereas in the past they might just walk off and go to another job, nowadays they can’t really do that, because there are no jobs.”