Our lawyer represents clients in all matters relating to employment and labor law, including sexual harassment, discrimination, compensation, non-compete agreements, academic issues, the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and Federal service regulatory law. In addition, we represents clients in the related areas of constitutional law, business law, and civil litigation.
For more information about a practice area, please click on the heading.
Many of our clients are employees who have performed well for their employers over the years who are now being pushed out of the company as their salaries and benefit costs become higher. Few employers say, “I’m going to discriminate against you because of your age.” Instead, discrimination is couched in code words such as, “Aren’t you ready for retirement?” and “Why do you work so hard?” and “The company wants to bring in new blood.”
Race, Religious And National Origin Discrimination
In our post-9/11 world, race, religious, and national origin discrimination are becoming more prevalent in the workplace. Much of this discrimination is based on clothing styles and appearances. Head gear, turbans, veils, beards, and dreadlocks, which might have a religious connotation are banned by some employers. Some employees are fired for their accents or for not speaking English, even when speaking English is not a requirement of the job. Others are fired or disciplined for religious observances, such as leaving work early for Sabbath.
Sex And Pregnancy Discrimination
Gender and pregnancy discrimination in the workplace are often based on stereotyping. A woman who is aggressive is often treated differently from a male who is aggressive. A woman who is pregnant may not be perceived as a good worker because she may have to take time off from work for maternity leave or to care for sick children in the future.
Americans With Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects workers who have disabilities, including mental disabilities such depression, from discrimination in the workplace. If you have suffered wrongful termination or other adverse employment action due to your disability, you may be entitled to compensation.
In the past, many people thought of sexual harassment as a supervisor asking for sexual favors as a condition for a job consideration. However, harassment can take many forms. It often has less to do with sex and more to do with intimidation.
Leave And Benefit Issues
One of the important protections of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) is that it keeps your job secure while you are taking time off work to care for yourself or a family member. However, many employers fail to let employees know when they can take FMLA time. Some employers even disregard FMLA by wrongfully terminating an employee before he or she has taken the 12 weeks of leave to which employees are entitled each year.
Commissions, bonuses, and deferred income are wages and must be paid to the employee when they normally should be paid — even if the employee is no longer on the company payroll. Employers who withhold commissions and other wages in Maryland can face damages that include attorney fees and treble damages (three times the amount owed). The District of Columbia has similar protections.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act employees must receive at least minimum wage for all hours worked during a workweek. They must be paid overtime compensation (equal to no less than one and one-half their regular rate of pay) for all work hours in excess of 40 each workweek.
Our attorneys often advise employees at the beginning and at their end of their employment. At the beginning we review and negotiate employment contracts and noncompete agreements. At the end, we may advise employees about whether they should accept a severance agreement or about the impact of any noncompete agreement they signed.