While Maryland is an at-will employment state, that does not mean that employees who work in the Baltimore area are without rights. Many state and federal laws covering employment, business, and civil rights protect workers in Maryland, and if you or someone you know has experienced a violation of these rights, it may be in your best interest to seek employee counseling. At HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP our experienced employment lawyers are prepared to counsel and assist with all types of employee legal matters. To learn more, call or contact our office today.
What is Employee Counseling?
Employee counseling can take many forms and assist with many different types of issues for workers. Most employee counseling involves reviewing and discussing matters or incidents in the workplace that may rise to the level of a legal case, such as discrimination or wage issues. These incidents may occur with a single employee or affect a group of workers for an employer. Employee counseling can also be beneficial if an employee is suffering from a personal issue that affects their ability to perform their work and they need help through an employee assistance program. Whatever the issue, the experienced employment lawyers at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP are prepared to help with knowledgeable and compassionate legal services.
Common Issues in Employee Counseling
While employee counseling can cover all types of matters, some issues arise more often than others in the Baltimore area. Some of the most common legal issues that our experienced employment attorneys handle includes the following:
Wage and Hour Issues
Every employee is legally entitled to be paid for their work and paid on time. Wage and hour issues are prevalent in Maryland, with employers either not paying their workers what they are owed for their efforts or not paying their employees on a lawful, regular basis. Wage and hour disputes also often include matters of employee benefits, medical and family leave, vacation time, and other leave requests, and other areas of human resources.
Workers’ Compensation Claims
When an employee is injured on the job, they are entitled in most cases to workers’ compensation benefits. The purpose of workers’ compensation is to provide an injured employee with compensation, benefits, and medical treatment in exchange for waiving their right to sue the employer for damages. Unfortunately, employers will sometimes attempt to thwart their employee’s collection of workers’ compensation benefits or retaliate against them for doing so. An employment attorney can enforce the rights of injured workers as well as protect them from adverse employment actions by their employer during and after their recovery.
Discrimination in the workplace occurs when someone is detrimentally impacted by an employment decision because of their actual or perceived protected characteristic. Both employees and applicants to an employer can be discriminated against, but both state and federal law protect workers from discrimination in the workplace. Protected characteristics include the following:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy status
- Genetic information, and more.
Workplace harassment can take two forms — a hostile work environment or quid pro quo sexual harassment. A hostile work environment can be created by anyone in the workplace if their harassment of an employee is so severe or pervasive that it impacts their ability to do their job. This type of harassment does not have to be sexual, but it can be.
Quid pro quo sexual harassment can only be perpetrated by a supervisor or someone of a higher rank in the company and comes in the form of sexual requests in exchange for employment benefits. These benefits can include a promotion or raise but may also include avoiding adverse actions like transfer, demotion, or termination.
Retaliation consists of adverse employment actions that are taken by an employer as a response to a lawful action by an employee. Lawful actions include taking an allowed leave, refusing sexual advances in the workplace, collecting workers’ compensation benefits, reporting unethical or illegal actions, or participating in investigations. Adverse employment actions can take many forms, including the following:
- Reduction in pay
- Reduction in hours
- Transfer to a less desirable location
- Assigned an unmanageable level of responsibilities
- Poor performance reviews, and more.
Employers are not allowed to retaliate against employees for lawful actions, and an employment law attorney can enforce those rights through a lawsuit for damages and other legal actions. To learn more about the issues commonly counseled with employees in the Baltimore area, talk to our office today.
Employee Assistance Programs
Employment attorneys can also assist with employee counseling as part of an employee assistance program. Employees affected by personal problems, such as substance or alcohol abuse, traumatic events, physical and mental health issues, relationship challenges, financial issues, and other legal problems may be eligible for employee assistance. These issues can impact an employee’s ability to do their job effectively, reducing focus and productivity. Employee assistance programs are a work-based intervention program meant to help employees manage these issues through face-to-face interactions, emails, online chats, video-based counseling, and other methods.
An employment lawyer can ensure that an employee’s confidentiality is maintained and that they are receiving the proper help they need through an employee assistance program. It has been found that employee assistance programs result in higher productivity, a more positive work environment, and higher employee retention. An employment attorney can ensure that their client receives full treatment through this program and can return to work without suffering from retaliation or other adverse employment actions in the workplace. To learn more, talk to our office today.
Talk to Our Office Now
Have you or a coworker been subjected to a violation of your employee rights? If so, you may be in need of employee counseling to determine the best course of action, which may include a claim against your employer for damages. To learn more about your legal options, call the office or contact us today at HKM Employment Attorneys, LLP to schedule a consultation of your case.