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Greenbelt MD Employment Law Blog

Protections in place for pregnant workers in Maryland

In a recent blog post, we discussed a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court. Readers interested in that post can read it in full here. That case involves claims of pregnancy discrimination by a former worker for UPS. While there have not been any developments in that case just yet, this can be a good opportunity to look at the current laws regarding pregnancy and discrimination and explore how they affect employees and employers across Maryland.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act protects women from being treated unfairly in the workplace based on pregnancy-related issues. Employers are prohibited from discriminating against pregnant women at any phase of employment, from hiring to firing.

What requirements must be met for a child to work in Maryland?

Over the holidays, many students are out of school and looking to make some money by getting a job. This can be an important time for employers -- and potential employees -- to be sure they are in compliance with Maryland laws regarding employment of children.

In this state, a person under the age of 14 is prohibited from working, except in a few specific roles. Minors over the age of 14 are allowed to work, but they are required to have a work permit and employers must observe strict rules regarding wages and hours.

Keeping your office parties and decorations holiday-neutral

We are now right in the middle of the holiday season. It tends to be a great time of year no matter what your religious beliefs (or lack of beliefs) may be. But it can also be a dicey time of year as far as company parties and workplace etiquette are concerned.

Many employers in Maryland and around the country like to decorate the office and reward their employees with a holiday party. In order to avoid offending anyone or risking claims of religious discrimination, it’s important to be sensitive to the fact that it truly is the “holiday season,” and not all employees necessarily celebrate the same ones.

Supreme Court hears pregnancy discrimination case

The outcome of a case being heard by the U.S. Supreme Court today could have an extensive impact on employers and employees in Maryland and across the country. 

The case involves UPS and a former female worker who lost her job as a result of her pregnancy. The woman filed a lawsuit seeking damages and is claiming that she was the victim of pregnancy discrimination. UPS has argued that it never discriminated against the woman because of her pregnancy, but rather enforced a corporate policy that happened to unintentionally affect the woman. The Supreme Court will hear the case and determine if that decision and that policy discriminated against the woman.

What is employment arbitration?

Employment agreements and contracts can be very useful tools for both employers and employees. They can define compensation, specify certain workplace policies and identify pieces of information that is considered confidential and protected.

If either party fails to comply with the terms set in an employment contract, there may be grounds to take action. It may be easy to assume that filing a lawsuit and going to court is the most appropriate course of action because that is what we often read about in the news. However, many employers take steps to protect themselves from lawsuits by including an arbitration agreement in an employment contract. Any person who has signed or will be signing an employment contract should be aware of what this clause means.

Multiple claims of sexual harassment made against Ford

Sexual harassment claims are at the center of a contentious dispute between numerous employees and two Ford Motor plants in another state. As any business owner in Maryland can likely appreciate, the situation has been attracting some unfavorable and unwelcome attention to business practices at the company.

The story started with four women filing claims of sexual harassment at the plant where she worked. However, the situation quickly escalated when reports suggested that "over a hundred complaints" have been filed by workers at the plants regarding sexual harassment. 

Avoiding litigation can be crucial for Maryland employers

Employment disputes of any kind can prove to be very costly to employers. The time and money it takes to deal with a legal claim in court takes away from the time and money that could be spent on the company itself, and this can lead to serious problems for a business.

This is why it can be crucial for employers to take steps to avoid disputes and work toward a swift resolution in the event that an issue does require legal intervention. For example, in regards to discrimination, employers can do two things to protect themselves from costly litigation: create anti-discrimination workplace policies and proactively seek resolutions in the event that a claim is filed. 

What are the possible solutions to a wrongful termination claim?

Employers that terminate an employee under complicated terms or after a contentious dispute can find themselves facing a wrongful termination claim filed by that employee. Whether a claim is legitimate or not, employers could be very nervous about what the ramifications of the complaint may be.

If an employee is pursuing a wrongful termination claim, employers need to know that they have the right to defend their actions and work toward a satisfactory solution either inside or outside the courtroom. Identifying and pursuing these remedies can be very complicated, but legal representatives can help employers determine what may be in their best interests.

Understanding overtime laws in Maryland

Failure to pay appropriate wages to employees can get an employer in some serious legal trouble. In general, wage determinations are fairly straightforward. However, there are exceptions and exemptions that can complicate matters significantly.

For example, not all employees are eligible for overtime pay. If there is any confusion about whether an employee should receive overtime, it can be crucial to consult an attorney before a dispute snowballs into litigation.

What can employment contracts protect?

People agree to the terms contracts more often than they probably realize. There are many products, services and relationships that come with some type of agreement that protects one or both parties involved in an exchange. In some cases, the stakes of agreeing to a contract seem relatively low, so people may not even skim the information provided.

But when it comes to employment contracts, the stakes can be quite high, making it crucial that both an employer and employee thoroughly understand what it is they are agreeing to. 

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