Frederick, Maryland Employment Lawyer
During one’s lifetime, it is often the case that the need arises to consult an attorney regarding an employment law issue, whether as an employer or employee. Many employment law issues are governed by federal and state statutes and require knowledge of the statutory process that must be followed in order to successfully handle the matter. Some common employment-related issues include:
Unions and Collective Bargaining Agreements
Sexual Harassment and Gender/Pregnancy Discrimination
Discrimination on Basis of Race, National Origin or Religion
Disability Discrimination under Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
Family Medical Leave Act
Public Accommodation Discrimination
Wrongful Termination/Severance Packages
In Maryland, like most states, employment is “at will,” meaning that an employer can terminate (or refuse to hire) an employee for most reasons, so long as the termination (or refusal to hire) is not based upon a reason that is specifically prohibited by law or against the public policy of Maryland. Both Federal and Maryland law prohibit employers from taking an adverse employment action against an employee based upon the employee’s race, gender, age (if employee is at least 40 years old), disability, serious health condition (of yourself or family member), sexual orientation, pregnancy, and religion. Similarly, employers cannot knowingly allow their employees to be subjected to a hostile work environment based upon such traits. In addition, with respect to an employee’s religion or disability, an employer may have a duty to accommodate the employee’s religion or disability (if such an accommodation can be accomplished without imposing an undue burden upon the employer). It is also unlawful for an employer to retaliate against an employee because the employee has exercised his/her rights under the law. If you are an employer, the existence of effective anti-discrimination polices (and objective disciplinary procedures) can often be a key factor in limiting liability for alleged discrimination. If you are an employee, it is important that you exercise your rights in a timely manner and in accordance with the requirements set forth under the law, since failure to do so can result in an employee losing his/her right to bring a legitimate claim against the employer.
Employment Contracts and Non-Compete/Non-Solicitation Agreements
Employment agreements set forth the rights and responsibilities of both the employer and employee and have the benefit of setting forth in writing the parties’ expectations prior to entering into an employer/employee relationship. Alternatively, for some, an independent contractor agreement may be a more advantageous business arrangement than entering into an employer/employee relationship. This Firm can assist you in the drafting of employment agreements/manuals and/or independent contractor agreements, as well as with any litigation involving the employment/contractor relationship. Although there are many different areas that employment/contractor agreements may address, two common provisions included in many employment contracts are non-compete and non-solicitation clauses. Non-compete clauses generally restrict the right of the employee to work in a certain field, for a certain period of time, and in a certain geographical location after employment with the employer has come to an end. Although such non-compete clauses are generally enforceable if they are reasonable in scope, if they are not properly drafted, they may not be enforceable in court. On the other hand, non-solicitation clauses generally prohibit an employee from soliciting the employer’s customers/clients (typically for a certain time period) and are usually enforceable.
Under Maryland law, many employees are entitled to be paid their hourly wages every two weeks, in addition to overtime above 40 hours/week. If an employee has not been paid the wages/compensation owed to him/her, that employee may have the right to maintain a suit against the employer to recover the amounts owed, along with treble damages (triple damages) and attorneys’ fees. However, not all employees qualify for such protection and not all employers are subject to such requirements.