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Maryland Employment Blog

What is Your Current Salary?

There is a growing movement among legislators to ban employers from asking applicants their current or most recent salary.  In Maryland, an employer can ask current salary information, but New York City, Massachusetts, and Philadelphia have recently acted to ban the question. 

Potential Paid Sick Leave in Maryland

A paid sick leave law that passed the Maryland Legislature is now headed for an override battle after Governor Hogan recently vetoed the bill.  The bill would require Maryland employers with more than 15 employees to have a paid sick and safe leave policy.

Legal requirements for unpaid internships in Maryland

As the calendar turns over to summer months, it is increasingly common to see interns in workplaces across Maryland and throughout the United States. Unpaid or paid internships provide meaningful benefits to individuals and businesses alike. Interns receive valuable work experience in their chosen field, and businesses receive the value of the intern's labor.

Despite these advantages, it is critical for businesses to understand the laws surrounding internships. We have previously spoken about unpaid internships in this space. Since our last posting on this topic, there have been developments in these laws both at the state and federal levels.

Maryland Employer Sued for Failing to Accommodate Employee's Religious Holiday

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently sued the company XPO Last Mile, Inc., in federal court in Maryland, for discriminating against a new hire because he could not start work on a Jewish Holiday.  The company pulled its offer letter for Tzvi McCloud after he said he could not start working on October 3, 2016, which was the Jewish High Holy day of Rosh Hashanah. 

Can businesses require random drug testing for employees?

Many businesses require job applicants and employees to submit to drug tests either on a random basis or as a condition of employment. Generally speaking, federal law does not govern drug tests except for federal employees. For employees working in the private sector or in state or local government, the specific state law applies.

Many states, including Maryland, generally allow businesses to test applicants and employees for drug use. With this said, businesses with employees in multiple states must take care to confirm that their drug testing policies comply with all relevant state laws.

Can salary history laws reduce the pay gap and promote workplace equality?

Anyone who has applied for a job has probably had to tell the potential employer how much they earned in their previous jobs, either in the interview process or in an application. Given the current trends, however, it is quite possible employer requests for salary history will become a thing of the past.

Salary history requests could reinforce the pay gap between men and women

When employers know how much a job applicant has earned in the past, it will factor into their own compensation decisions. Consequently, men who earned more money in previous jobs than women are more likely to earn even more in future positions. Per Census Bureau data, women earn 79 cents for each dollar men earn. While the pay gap has many causes, salary history laws could be one way to minimize this gap.

Laws barring employers from asking about salary history are increasingly common. Last year Massachusetts was the first state to pass a law barring employers from asking job applicants about their salary history. New Jersey and Pennsylvania are considering similar bills. At the level of city government, Philadelphia became the first city in the United States to enact a salary history law.

Is it a good idea to track or respond to a fired employee's social media?

Terminating an employee is never easy, even when it is an employer's only reasonable option. Making matters more complicated is the fact that a fired employee has many avenues on social media to make negative comments about his or her former employer. Employers are justifiably concerned about damage to its brand. The question becomes, how far can or should an employer go to protect its reputation online?

Monitoring a former employee's social media presence

Generally speaking, a former employee is free to say what he or she likes about a company, as long as these statements are not defamatory. There are exceptions, however. If an employee entered into a severance agreement with a nondisparagement clause, negative comments could violate the severance agreement. Furthermore, a former employee who discusses trade secrets or other confidential information could be violating the law. In these cases, taking legal action may be necessary.

In situations where a former employee is simply venting about a company online, a more relaxed approach is appropriate. Online users understand that terminated employees are not objective sources of information. Companies that are tempted to access to a former employee's social media accounts must understand this is a bad idea. An employee is unlikely to allow a former employer to "friend" or "follow" them. Using fake accounts in an attempt to gain access to a former employee's social media is, at minimum, a violation of the terms of use and a possible violation of the law.

Wage and Hour Compliance-- Multiple Employers?

Usually it is obvious who is an "employer" under wage and hour laws, and the employees know who cuts their checks.  What about the situation when a worker is employed by a small affiliate to a larger organization?   Who is the "employer" for purposes of wage and hour law? 

Signs an employer does not take sexual harassment seriously

Despite the many state and federal laws that bar sexual harassment in the workplace, sexual harassment is still a major problem. Every year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), investigates thousands of sexual harassment claims. In fact, in 2016 this federal agency investigated nearly 13,000 sexual harassment cases.

While every employer should be vigilant about protecting the rights of its employees, the fact is that some businesses simply do not treat sexual harassment as seriously as they should. As a result, employees may be forced to endure a hostile working environment. Here are some warning signs that your employer is not serious about preventing sexual harassment.

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