Maryland private employers must comply with both federal and state laws. Employer compliance matters can range from wage and hour compliance, industry specific health and safety laws, and include proper document retention to prove your compliance. Employer compliance is not helped by the many outsourced human resource and payroll companies which, while often providing compliance advice, contract to protect themselves – not you.
Staiti & DiBlasio can be your business’ legal resource. We offer many flexible retainer and payment options to fit your business’ needs. Call today to discuss establishing a proactive Business Retainer Account or, if you have been named to a lawsuit, our litigation defense services.
Common Employer Violations of Maryland Wage & Hour Laws
In Maryland, wage claims are governed by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and in Maryland by the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law and the Maryland Wage and Hour Law (collectively the “Wage & Hour Laws”). All three of the Wage & Hour Laws apply to employers in the private sector, while government employers must only comply with the FLSA. The Wage & Hour Laws provide important protections for Maryland employees and all three can subject employers to back wages, enhancement, and attorney fees.
- Commissions – Once an employee has performed all necessary tasks to earn a commission, they have (usually) earned the commission, regardless of relation to their termination date. These claims are often contractual in nature and you will want an attorney you can rely on to both write, and help you comply with, those provisions.
- Compensation Discrimination – The Maryland Wage Payment Law and Maryland Wage and Hour Law prohibit private sector employers from discrimination in affixing an employee’s compensation.
- Independent Contractor vs. Employee – Failing to understand the distinctions between when someone is an independent contractor or an employee is one of the biggest mistakes a small business can make. More often than not, problems arise in the classification of such matters and small employers may think that since others in their industry are using independent contractors, then so should they. Usually, this merely means that those others have not been challenged. When challenged, Maryland Courts often find that an employer/employee relationship exists.
- Minimum Wage – The Wage & Hour Laws create a myriad of minimum wage requirements, some of which are location or industry specific. In addition to helping you comply with minimum wage laws, competent counsel is crucial to helping you understand how to self-correct prior or current errors.
- Overtime – Understanding whether an employee is “exempt” is not always a straightforward process, and disputes frequently arise when and how much overtime pay is required. In addition to helping you comply with overtime laws, competent counsel is crucial to helping you understand how to self-correct prior or current violations.
- Wage Deductions – Generally, employers are only permitted to make deductions from employees’ wages for garnishments and with written authorization from the employee. While there exist other times withholdings are allowed, garnishments and agreements are, by far, the most common. Compliance with wage deductions is often contractual in nature and you will want an attorney you can rely on to both write, and help you comply with, those provisions.
The Wage & Hour Laws include provisions that, by statute, expand common-law definitions of personal liability. Accordingly, defense of these claims often has personal liability and conflict-of-interest considerations among employers and their senior management staff. While we are able to jointly represent each named defendant in most circumstances, you can rely upon our experience to address these difficult considerations early in the defense process, helping you keep a common defense team for the duration of your case.
We represent plaintiffs and defendants in employment cases and are therefore often able to anticipate and defend against litigation maneuvers better than law firms that are exclusively dedicated to only plaintiff or defense work. Call today to discuss our business planning or litigation defense services.