Monday, April 30, 2012

Pending Law Will Ban Employer Facebook Password Queries

My take on the pending Maryland Law  (waiting for the Governor's signature) banning employer requests for social media passwords:
“Fishing expeditions into an employee’s private life are both bad form and an invitation for discrimination and breach of privacy claims,” Rubin says. “The real question to me, regardless of liability, is do you want to work for an employer who wants to snoop through your private information and does not trust you simply to provide it yourself?”

(I apologize for the obvious horn toot and the bad picture).

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Q: What amount of fines has Maryland collected under the Workplace Fraud Act of 2009?

A:  Zero.

  I have written about the Maryland Workplace Fraud Act of 2009 in the past.  The law was subject to intense disagreement between the Maryland Department of Labor and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce.  The Law  grants to the Maryland Department of Labor the authority to investigate the misclassification of employees as independent contractors in the construction and landscaping industries. The Act allows an employer who misclassifies an employee but does not do so knowingly to come into compliance within 45 days without penalty. Employers who "knowingly" misclassify employees, however, may be subject to a penalty of up to $5,000 per misclassified employee. 

A recent fiscal note to an amendment to the Act states the following about its enforcement:

As of December 2011, DLLR’s Task Force on Workplace Fraud had conducted  660 investigations under the Workplace Fraud Act, and issued 12 citations, which  translates into a 98% compliance rate.  The task force collected $33,000 in civil fines  from employers for failing to provide employment records in a timely fashion, but it has  not assessed fines for misclassification because the cited employers have either come into compliance or have their cases still pending.

New Maryland Law Protects Unemployment Benefits for Victims of Domestic Violence

The Maryland General Assembly passed a law, effective October 1, 2012, that will protect victims of domestic violence.   The law states that an individual is eligible for unemployment benefits if it is determined that the individual voluntarily left employment because he or she or his or her spouse, child, or parent was a victim of domestic violence. The individual must (1) reasonably believe that the individual's continued employment would jeopardize the safety of the individual or the individual's family; and (2) provide documentation substantiating the domestic violence.   The law's fiscal note give a no nonsense explanation of the sources of funds for unemployment benefits.