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Maryland State Legislature Considering a Bill to Fight Retaliation in the Workplace

February 28th, 2011

The Maryland State Legislature is now considering a bill that would strengthen the anti-retaliation provisions in state wage and hour law.  As a Maryland Employment Law Attorney, I view this as a very important piece of legislation.  As the law now stands, if you complain to your boss that you have not been paid correctly, the boss can cut your hours, change your shift, require you to work a split shift, and take other actions which are clearly “retaliatory.”  The only thing the boss cannot do is outright fire you.  Here’s how bad it can get – I represented an individual who was owed overtime wages from an employer he had recently left.  The ex-employer refused to resolve the case out of court, so we filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking those overtime wages.  In response, the ex-employer created and distributed a flyer with my client’s picture, social security number, and an accusation that my client had stolen the company’s property.  Then, the employer filed criminal charges against my client.  Of course, the company knew that the charges were false.  The company was clearly attempting to intimidate my client from pursuing his claim, and perhaps more importantly, sending a message to other employees not to stand up for their rights.  If the proposed bill is passed, it will provide employees, like my client, with added protection against retaliation.  Read more about Maryland Senate Bill 551.