Maryland Equal Pay Lawyer

The right to equal pay has long been at the center of attention for women and minorities but has gained more attention in recent years as state, local and federal legislative bodies have taken action.

If you feel that you are receiving pay that is unequal to those in similarly situated positions because of your gender, sexual orientation, race, religion or ethnicity, a Maryland equal pay lawyer can help explain, not only Maryland’s long-standing equal pay laws, but a new Equal Pay for Equal Work Act that provides clear and specific rights for all workers. An experienced FLSA attorney could assist you with a claim if you have not been paid fairly.

Maryland’s 2016 Equal Pay Act

In 2016, Maryland expanded its equal pay rules to provide additional protections for individuals who may have been discriminated against with respect to pay because of gender or gender identity.  The law applies equally to both men and women and, in general, prohibits an employer from (1) paying lower wages to members of one sex or gender identity than to other groups, or (2) providing less favorable employment opportunities based on these factors.

These rules broaden the otherwise available protections by defining “less favorable employment opportunities” as:

  • Directing or assigning an employee to a less favorable career track, if relevant, or position,
  • An employer’s failure to provide full information about available promotions, or
  • Limiting or depriving otherwise available employment opportunities because of the employee’s sex or gender identity.

Further, a Maryland equal pay lawyer could discuss improvements in the law. For example, under prior law, employers were prohibited from paying unequal wages for the same work under the same conditions when the employees were working in the same establishment. The new law expands the definition of “same establishment” to include any establishments operated by the same employer within the same county.

Employers are, of course, permitted to pay wages that differ based upon legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons, such as seniority, merit, different job descriptions, work performed at different times of the day or other bona fide factors.

Pay Transparency Rules

To further secure the right to equal pay, the new rules also prohibit an employer from taking any adverse employment action based on the new pay transparency rules. An equal pay lawyer in Maryland could help evaluate whether an employer has violated the pay transparency rules, which allow:

  • Asking about another employee’s wages,
  • Discussing the employee’s own wages,
  • Discussing other employees’ wages, so long as the other employees voluntarily shared information about those wages,
  • Asking the employer to provide the rationale behind the employee’s wage levels, or
  • Helping another employee protect his or her rights under the equal pay laws.

Private Cause of Action

Maryland’s new equal pay law allows an employee who thinks that his or her rights have been violated to take legal action against the employer. A seasoned lawyer could help the individual obtain both injunctive relief so that the individual will receive equal pay going forward, and recover past wages. The past wages that may be recovered are the difference between:

  • The wages paid to one group of employees based on a discriminatory factor, such as sex or gender identity, and
  • The wages paid to another group performing the same work.

If the employer knew about the inappropriate wage disparity or reasonably should have known about it, additional amounts may be recovered as liquidated damages.

Let a Maryland Equal Pay Attorney Assist You

While Maryland’s new equal pay laws expand the rights of workers to obtain fair and equal pay, nuances of the law can make a Maryland equal pay lawyer necessary. A lawyer could help prove the necessary elements of an equal pay claim, including knowledge on the part of the employer, to ensure your rights are protected.