Experienced Employment and Class Action Attorneys in D.C. and Maryland
Also Serving Glen Burnie, Columbia, Frederick, Howard and Anne Arundel Counties and Silver Spring Areas
Attorney Joyce E. Smithey provides experienced legal representation for employee class action lawsuits in Maryland. If you believe that your rights as an employee have been violated and that your coworkers may have experienced similar treatment, call to request a confidential initial consultation today.
In Maryland, employees are entitled to numerous protections against their employers. This includes everything from the right to a non-hostile work environment to the right to receive advance notice of a mass layoff. While certain violations will only affect individual employees, frequently, an employer’s improper conduct will pervade a broader cross-section of its workforce.
When this is the case, affected employees may be able to enforce their rights collectively by filing a class action lawsuit. In a class action, employees band together to file a shared claim against their employer. Class actions allow employees to enforce their rights when the costs of filing separate claims individually may be prohibitive. For example, while it may not (in certain circumstances) be financially worthwhile for an individual employee to pursue a claim under the WARN Act, by filing a class action, a group of employees who have been denied wages can enforce their rights in a cost-effective manner.
Employee Class Action Claims
Whether a group of employees will have grounds to initiate a class action will depend upon the specific facts and circumstances at play. Generally speaking, however, the following are among the types of employment law violations that may be able to support a class action lawsuit:
- Discrimination – The Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), and various other state and federal statutes prohibit Maryland employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of age, disability, family responsibilities, genetic status, marital status, national origin, political opinion, pregnancy, race, religion, sex, or sexual orientation. When an employer engages in a consistent pattern of discriminatory behavior in hiring, terminating, compensating, or promoting employees, employees who are victims of discrimination in the workplace may be able to pursue remedies through filing a class action.
- Harassment – Sexual harassment in the workplace is treated as a form of sex discrimination under the law, and pervasive harassment in a hostile work environment may also be grounds for employees to pursue a class action claim.
- Wage and Hour Violations – The Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, the Maryland Wage and Hour Law, and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) require employers to pay employees their earned wages, provide appropriate compensation for overtime, comply with their internal policies regarding vacation pay and sick leave, and otherwise compensate their employees appropriately. Wage and hour violations frequently affect large numbers of employees, and as a result will often be grounds to initiate a class action.
- Equal Pay Act Violations – The Equal Pay Act requires employers to compensate men and women equally for equal work. Like wage and hour issues and other discriminatory practices, violations of the Equal Pay Act often impact large segments of employee populations.
- WARN Act Violations – The WARN Act is a federal law that requires employers to provide advance notice of mass layoffs and plant closings under certain circumstances. Employees who have been denied wages due to violations of the WARN Act may be able to seek compensation through a class action lawsuit.
Requirements to Initiate a Class Action Lawsuit in Maryland
In both state and federal court, there are certain requirements that must be met before the judge will “certify” a class. Certification is a critical early step in the class action process, and one that requires thorough research, planning, and preparation by an employment law attorney who is experienced in class action litigation. The basic requirements for certification are:
- A class of employees that is so numerous that joining each employee individually would not be practical;
- Common questions of fact or law concerning all employees in the class;
- Appointment of a representative employee whose claims are typical of those of the other employees in the class; and,
- The ability for the appointed representative to adequately protect the interests of all members of the class.
Contact Attorney Joyce E. Smithey About Your Employment-Related Class Action
Having represented employees for over 18 years, attorney Joyce E. Smithey provides experienced representation for employment-related class action lawsuits throughout Maryland. If you believe that you have been mistreated at work, it is important to speak with an employment lawyer about your rights. To find out if you have a claim – and to see if you may be able to initiate or join a class action – call Ms. Smithey at (410) 919-2990 or inquire online to schedule an appointment today.