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Greenbelt MD Employment Law Blog

Does every employee need to be paid minimum wage?

If you are an employer in Maryland who has employees receiving minimum wage, you should have recently revisited your payment structures. This is because as of July 2015, the state minimum wage increased from $8.00 to $8.25 per hour. 

That quarter-dollar increase may not seem like that big of a deal, but to the employees collecting the paycheck, it can make a huge difference. Additionally, employers who failed to adjust wages since the increase could face serious penalties for wage violations. However, it is important to keep in mind that not every single employer in this state is required to pay employees minimum wage. There are some important exceptions.

When dealing with sexual harassment, one step isn't enough

The importance of taking swift and deliberate action in light of sexual harassment claims on the job cannot be overstated. Employers are supposed to take these types of allegations very seriously and make a reasonable effort to investigate the claims and enforce any consequences, if necessary.

However, too many employers make the mistake of thinking that they can do these things and then forget all about an incident involving harassment. This can be an unwise decision as there could still be penalties for employers whose efforts to combat harassment, while present, do not go far enough in protecting employees.

What to do if an employee claims a termination was wrongful

Letting an employee go can be a very unpleasant and difficult decision for any employer, but it is often a necessary aspect of owning a business and managing employees.

In some cases, firing someone is fairly straightforward and the employee leaves the job without pushing back. In other cases, an employee can be very upset and threaten to take legal action because he or she believes the firing is wrongful.

What are trade secrets and how can I protect mine as an employer?

As an employer, one of your top priorities likely has something to do with protecting a company and taking steps to help it grow. How you go about doing this depends on a number of different factors but one option you may want to consider is to make sure a company's trade secrets are protected.

You may not know if you even have trade secrets that need protecting. After all, most companies think they have something unique that sets them apart, but not all information qualifies as a trade secret. Generally speaking, if you have a product, service, tool or data that is valuable, not publicly available and makes your company distinct from other companies, it may very well be a trade secret.

How the same-sex marriage ruling affects employers

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court made an historic ruling. It was decided that all states are required to both allow and recognize same-sex marriages. While the ruling has an undeniably profound impact on the right to marry and have a marriage recognized by state governments, it also has a dramatic impact on the rights of gay and lesbian employees.

Since 2013, gay and lesbian couples in Maryland have been able to legally wed and have had access to the many federal benefits available to employees in opposite-sex marriages. But state laws varied considerably; companies in other states were not required to offer the same benefits to gay and lesbian employees as they did to straight employees. The recent ruling will change that. 

Paid sick leave approved in Montgomery County

The Montgomery County Council has unanimously passed an ordinance that requires employers to begin providing paid sick and safe leave to employees.

If you employ five or more employees in Montgomery County, then starting on Oct. 1, 2016, you will be required to provide up to 56 hours of paid leave per year. If you employ fewer than five employees, then you will be required to provide up to 32 hours of paid leave and 24 hours of unpaid leave.

Report highlights wage gap that could be closed with legislation

There are numerous federal employment laws that dictate how and when employers and employees are protected from certain actions, from being mistreated on the job to theft of sensitive information. However, there is at least one notable protection that is lacking on a federal level in this country: protection against discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation.

Despite repeated attempts over the years, federal legislation that would make it illegal to discriminate against people in the LGBT community has yet to be passed. Because of this, according to reports, there exists a concerning "gay-straight wage gap."

What types of sexual harassment are recognized in the workplace?

Sexual harassment is a very real concern for any person who is being mistreated on the job. Going to work every day can be a nightmare for anyone who is in this situation because they can feel scared, intimidated, marginalized, helpless and embarrassed from the moment they walk into work to the moment they can leave and get home. 

In fact, many people find it difficult to shake these feelings just because they have left work. Victims' relationships, emotional stability and well-being can be significantly damaged when someone is being harassed on the job, even when they are off the job. However, when we look at legal definitions of sexual harassment, we need to focus on what is happening in the workplace or how misconduct is affecting a person's job in order to build a claim.

Chipotle makes surprising announcement about employment perks

When we read about wage issues or widespread changes regarding employment practices at fast food restaurants, it isn't always in a positive tone. In fact, it's not uncommon to read stories about unpaid overtime, minimum wage violations and employee dissatisfaction with low pay. 

However, there are examples of compensation changes that actually benefit workers and make a company look favorable in the eyes of the public. Recently, for example, international Mexican food chain Chipotle made an announcement that could prove to be a huge benefit for workers as well as an example for other employers in the industry.

Can I be fired for reporting unsafe work conditions?

Employees across Maryland and the U.S. have certain rights that protect them from unlawful or unfair treatment by employers. One such protection is against wrongful termination.

Generally speaking, or unless there are terms in an employment contract that dictate otherwise, a person can be fired without cause and without any sort of warning. However, there are certain exceptions to this rule that protects a person from being fired for unlawful reasons, which could include reporting unsafe work conditions.

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Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: 301-441-2420
Fax: 301-982-9450
Greenbelt Law Office

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Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-266-9909
Fax: 410-266-8425
Annapolis Law Office

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Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-323-5620
Fax: 703-323-5621
Alexandria Law Office

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