LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED

Avvo - Rate your Lawyer. Get Free Legal Advice.

Powered by Squarespace

 

11 N. Washington St. Suite 520

Rockville, Maryland  20850

301.838.8950 

301.838.0322 (fax)

marcjsmith@slglaw.com

 

WAGE ISSUES 

What is the current minimum wage?   This question requires a look at both federal law and the law of the state in which you work -- employees are entitled to the higher of the minimum hourly wages.  At the present time, the federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.  The minimum wage in Maryland is currently $8.00 per hour.  In certain counties in Maryland, including Montgomery and PG County, the minimum wage is $8.40 per hour.   In the District of Columbia, the minimum wage is $9.50 per hour and will increase to $10.50 per hour in July 2015.   

What is overtime compensation?  Overtime compensation is a premium paid to certain employees when they work in excess of 40 hours in any given workweek.  Overtime compensation is paid at the rate of one and one-half times the employee's regular hourly rate.  So, an employee making $10 per hour would be entitled to overtime at the rate of $15 per hour for each hour worked over 40 in any given workweek.

Am I entitled to overtime compensation?   Employers are required to pay overtime compensation to "non-exempt" employees who work more than 40 hours per week.  The fact that your employer pays you a salary does not mean you are not entitled to overtime compensation.  Whether or not you are a non-exempt employee depends on the job duties you perform for your employer.  Employers often misclassify their employees (whether intentionally or unintentionally) and, as a result, deprive these employees of substantial compensation to which they are entitled under the law.  If you work more than 40 hours per week and do not receive overtime, it is worth contacting an employment attorney to determine whether you may be entitled to unpaid overtime. 

Do I have to pay overtime to my salaried employees?  It depends.  It is a very common misconception that providing an employee with a fixed salary relieves the employer of the obligation to pay overtime.  While the payment of a salary is indeed a requirement to maintain the exemption from the obligation to pay overtime, the question of whether or not an employee is "exempt" and thus not entitled to overtime actually hinges on the employee's job duties and whether those duties fall within the specific exemptions under the Fair Labor Standards Act or State wage and hour laws.

Is there anything I can do to recover unpaid wages?  The short answer is yes.  Maryland's Wage Payment and Collection law requires the payment of wages in a timely manner and penalizes employers up to 3 times the amount due, plus attorney's fees, if wages are withheld in the absence of a bona fide dispute.

Will I receive my commissions if I resign or am terminated before they are paid?   Prior to 2002, the answer to this question depended on the terms of the agreement between the employer and employee.  If the agreement conditioned the right to payment on the employee actually being employed at the time of payment, courts would invariably rule in favor of the employer if the employee had quit or been terminated prior to payment.  In the 2002 case of Medex v. McCabe, 372 Md. 28, 811 A.2d 297 (2002), Maryland's Court of Appeals abruptly changed the law with respect to the payment of commissions.  In Medex, the Court ruled that notwithstanding an agreement to the contrary, if an employee has done everything required to earn the commission prior to resignation or termination, the employee is entitled to be paid regardless of whether the payment becomes due when the employee is no longer employed by the company.  A copy of the Medex decision can be found here.

Will I receive my accrued but unused vacation leave if I resign or am terminated?  In the seminal case of Catapult Technologies v. Wolf (which was handled by the author of this website), Maryland's Court of Special Appeals recognized that accrued  vacation constitutes a "wage" under Maryland's Wage Payment  and Collection law and ruled that an employee has a right to receive compensation for accrued but unused leave at the conclusion of their employment, despite an employer's policy to the contrary.  A copy of this decision can be found here.  Unfortunately, this victory for employees was shorted lived when, at the urging of an unnamed research university based in Baltimore, emergency legislation was passed amending the Wage Payment and Collection law to allow employers to deprive employees of accrued but unused vacation provided they have a policy that provides for the forfeiture of unused vacation at the time of resignation or termination.  This legislation is retroactive and covers all employees terminated after November 1, 2007.