Maryland and federal laws require the prompt payment of overtime-eligible employees – and the consequences for employers that fail to do so can be severe.
Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal overtime law, an employer that fails to pay required overtime can be responsible for two times the amount owed, as well as attorney fees and costs incurred by the work involved in filing a lawsuit.
According to the Maryland federal district court in the recent case of Braxton v. Jackson, double damages must be imposed against the employer unless “the employer shows to the satisfaction of the court that the act or omission giving rise to such action was in good faith and that he had reasonable grounds for believing that his act or omission was not a violation” Further, good faith in this context requires more than “remain[ing] blissfully ignorant of FLSA requirements” and taking “an ostrichlike approach to [FLSA].” Good faith “requires that an employer first take active steps to ascertain the dictates of the FLSA and then move to comply with them.” So, an employer will have to prove that it made some efforts to learn about overtime requirements and cannot simply play dumb.
Maryland wage laws provide that triple damages can be imposed against an employer for failing to timely pay owed overtime. To avoid that penalty, an employer must show there is a “bona fide dispute” about whether overtime is owed. Depending on the circumstances of the case, this may or may not be a difficult burden for a guilty employer to satisfy.
Lebau & Neuworth has helped thousands of Maryland and District of Columbia workers recover overtime wages with the penalty damages. To get help with getting what you are owed, contact us at 888.456.2529 or lebauneuworth.com/contact-us.