Monday, December 03, 2012

Maryland Employees: Do Not Lose Earned Wages When You Change Jobs

I have written many times about the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law, the basic law that protects employee wages.  The Law states that employees are entitled to the wages that they earned. If an employer fails to pay earned wages, it could be liable for triple damages and attorney's fees.

Below are examples of earned wages that can be recovered in Wage Payment and Collection Law cases.

Commissions. A series of favorable Maryland decisions (reviewed here) state that if an employee performs the work necessary to earn a commission, he is entitled to it -- even if he or she has left the company

Bonuses. Did you do everything you could possibly do to earn the bonus? If so, you probably earned it and are owed it.

Severance. If severance is promised to entice an employee to take a job or to reward an employee for years of service, it likely falls under the category of earned wages.

Straight wages.  Did your employer just fail to pay?  You are owed your wages.

Overtime:  A recent amendment  includes overtime in the Law's definition of wages.

The Law can be enforced in three ways:

1.  You can file a lawsuit.  I recommend you consult a Maryland Employment attorney before doing so.

2.  You can file an administrative complaint with the Maryland Department of Labor (DLLR).  Instructions on how to file such a complaint can be found on the DLLR website.  

3. You can file a criminal complaint for a willful violation.  A warning:  I have not yet seen a criminal wage violation prosecuted.   My impression is that such claims are rarely prosecuted (since they are left to the civil process).

NOTE: Beginning in October 2013, Maryland employees can place a lien on their employer's property under the   Maryland Wage Lien Act.


Anonymous said...

What about Accrued Sick time? Does it fall under the same "earned" status?

Unknown said...

I have not yet seen a court case that deems accrued sick as wages under the MDWPCL. I would need to see how the policy is drafted to give you my opinion.


Joe said...

if i get reinstated at my job do i get paid for the time i was off?

Unknown said...

Joe, It depends on why you were reinstated. Feel free to email me at