Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Maryland Department of Labor Publishes Maryland Wage Lien Act Forms

In my last post, I outlined a new tool Marylanders have to collect unpaid wages.  The Maryland Wage Lien Act, allows an employee to place a lien on an employer's property if the employer fails to pay wages. The Act has two basic steps.  

First, the employee must give the employer notice of the intent to file a wage lien.  The Maryland Department of Labor published a form setting forth the proper notice.  The form as you might expect ask the employee to fill in blanks for the name of the employer, amount of unpaid wages, and the property subject to the lien.  The form also contains a paragraph informing the employer how to contest the lien (by filing a lawsuit).

Second, if the employer disagrees with the lien claim, the employer must file a lawsuit within 30 days (since the Act only went into effect October 1, 2013, as of this writing I am aware of no lawsuits having been filed).  The Maryland Department of Labor published a model of such a lawsuit.  The model lawsuit does not contain much information and is mostly space for the employer to describe why the wages are not owed.  If such a lawsuit is filed, the Court must conduct a hearing within 45 days to determine whether the lien is valid (and whether the award attorney's fees).

Finally, the Maryland Department of Labor published a draft lien document.  If the employer does not contest the wages owed, the employee can file this lien in the Circuit Court where the employer owns property.

All of the forms are fairly simple documents.  Most lawyers will create their own more detailed documents.  Even the Maryland Department of Labor's website warns that the forms are subject to revisions.

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