As Prince George’s County employment lawyers, Ms. Smithey and her dedicated team bring decades of combined experience to the field of employment law. We dedicate our practice exclusively to the discipline of labor and employment law, so we are highly regarded as experts in the field.
Joyce E. Smithey, of the Smithey Law Group, LLC, served on the Board of Governors to the Maryland State Bar Association and continues to serve on the Labor and Employment Section Council. She is an authority on labor and employment law and has been widely published on the subject as well as authoring the Fourth Edition of Maryland Rules Commentary and the MSBA Maryland Employment Law Deskbook. She is also a regular contributor to the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers’ Association’s newsletter and The Employee Advocate.
In addition, Ms. Smithey is regularly asked to speak at employment law conferences and has won awards such as the Centers of Influence Award, Top 50 Women in Maryland, Clients’ Choice Award, Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent, the Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award, America’s Top 100 High Stakes Litigators, and enjoys a 10.0 Avvo Rating.
Areas of Practice
At the Smithey Law Group, LLC, we are respected employment and labor attorneys, representing employees and employers in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia with issues such as:
- Race, national origin, age, pregnancy, sex, religion, and family responsibility discrimination;
- Employment contracts and restrictive covenants;
- Disability accommodation and discrimination;
- Retaliation and reprisal;
- Representation of public sector employees;
- Sexual harassment;
- Wrongful discharge;
- Claims prevention;
- Wage and hour issues; and
- Employment class and collective actions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Is Maryland an “at-will” employment state?
A: Yes. According to the Maryland Department of Labor, Maryland employees work “at the will” of their employers. In general, this means that an employee can be hired and fired for almost any reason or for no reason at all. However, there are exceptions to this rule if you can prove that you were wrongfully terminated based on one of the three guidelines shown in the next question.
Q: What do I have to show to prove that I was wrongfully terminated?
A: If you feel that you have been wrongfully terminated, to win your case, you must prove that you were fired for one of the following reasons:
- Your termination was against the law. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark civil rights and labor law that was signed by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson. This act outlaws discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Additional laws have since gone into effect that also ban discrimination based on pregnancy or marital status, sexual orientation or gender identity, and age or disability.
- Your termination was against public policy. If you were fired for “doing the right thing,” then your termination was likely against public policy. Some examples of this would be if you were terminated because you filed a workers’ compensation claim, served as a witness for a discrimination claim against your employer, participated in lawful union activities, asserted your rights to minimum wage or overtime pay, or reported your employer for infractions of tax, immigration, or other safety codes and laws.
- Your termination broke an employment contract. An employment contract can be written or oral, and if the termination breaks the understanding stated in the contract, you may have a wrongful termination claim.
Q: Am I entitled to compensation if I am wrongfully terminated?
A: Yes. While claims may sometimes be filed to enforce your rights or to stop discrimination or harassment, other times, the end goal is to receive compensation for your employer’s wrongful acts. A few of the things you could be compensated for include:
- Back pay;
- Lost benefits;
- Lost wages and bonuses;
- The cost of establishing a new job;
- Possible punitive damages if the termination was particularly grievous;
- And more.
Q: What Is Retaliation Discrimination?
A: The EEOC states that retaliation is the most frequently occurring basis for discrimination cases in the federal sector. Retaliation by the employer can happen after an employee (or sometimes a job applicant) asserts their employment rights against their employer. Examples of this include, but are not limited to:
- Filing an EEOC complaint, lawsuit, or charge, or being a witness in the filing.
- Answering questions to an investigator if your employer is under investigation for discrimination or harassment.
- Protecting others against or resisting sexual advances.
- Refusing to follow a directive that would result in discrimination.
- Informing a supervisor or manager about a harassment or discrimination incedent.
Unfortunately, when an employee or applicant asserts their rights like this, their employer can become angry and act in retaliation. Some examples of possible retaliation are:
- An unwarranted, poor performance valuation
- Overbearing scrutinization of the employee
- Making the employee’s workload or circumstances more difficult
- Threatening to report, or actually reporting the employee to the police or immigration
- Physically or verbally abusing the employee
- Demoting or transferring the employee to an undesirable situation or location
Although retaliation is illegal, this does not give the employee blanket coverage against normal workplace reprimands and demotions for poor performance or other factors.
Discuss Your Case with an Aggressive Prince George’s County Employment Lawyer
Joyce E. Smithey has all of the employment law experience that you will need to get the best outcome for your employment claim. All of the attorneys at the Smithey Law Group, LLC, provides experienced representation to both employees and employers in Prince George’s County and throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia. Give them a call today to discuss your employment claim or other legal needs by calling (410) 919-2990 or using our online contact form to submit a request for a confidential consultation.