Employment Law & Litigation

Relationships between employers and employees are more closely regulated–and more fraught with risk–than ever before.

For an employer, creating a thoughtful, responsive and defensible workplace takes more than goodwill and team spirit. As an employee, understanding your rights and living up to your obligations is a full-time job. We have extensive experience in helping employers and employees balance and protect their interests. From email privacy and social media usage to litigation involving sexual harassment or discrimination, our attorneys help our clients achieve the benefits of managing and working in a fair and productive environment. Please call us at (301) 251-1180 or submit an online inquiry so we can assist you.

Should I have employment agreements with salespeople and other employees?

If an employee could do your business real harm by moving to a competitor, you should probably ask that person to sign an employment agreement at the time of hiring. Sometimes, for instance, it is better to have the flexibility of an “at-will” employment relationship. We will learn about the nature of your business as well as the style and substance of your relationships with relevant employees. We can consider alternatives such as non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disparagement provisions – then work to create realistic, enforceable agreements.

Is the severance package I’ve been offered a fair one?

Do NOT sign off on an employment separation agreement until you talk to us. What you are being paid is just one factor you need to consider. For instance, is your employer agreeing not to contest an unemployment claim and to give you at least a neutral reference? Other nagging issues can continue past your final day, such as the ability to retrieve personal items or computer files that are rightfully yours. While your employer may not typically offer such terms proactively, we can work to negotiate a more favorable agreement that gives you as much protection as possible.

Is it okay to change the company name on someone else’s employment manual and use it for my business?

That’s a bad idea, and not just because a good employment manual needs to reflect the specific nature and personality of your business. It also needs to assure your compliance with federal, state and local laws where your business is located and where you have remote employees. We review many existing policies and a lot of them contain errors, oversights, or out-of-date language. Adopting someone else’s mistakes or bad judgment is no defense if an employment issue arises. We see to it that our clients have strong, compliant manuals that treat employees fairly and protect the interests of your business.

Is minimum wage the same in D.C., Maryland, and Virginia?

Despite their close proximity to each other, the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia each have differing laws on minimum wages.  As of July 1, 2020, the District of Columbia’s minimum wage is $15.00.  Effective as of January 1, 2021, Maryland’s minimum wage is $11.75 for employers with 15 or more employees and $11.60 for employers with 14 or fewer employees. As of May 1, 2021, Virginia’s minimum wage is $9.50.  Employers in certain counties who contract with government agencies, or who accept certain government grants, may be subject to additional minimum wage provisions.

Are Managers and Dishwashers allowed to share tips?

Tip pooling refers to the practice in which tipped employees contribute a portion of their tips to a pool which is distributed among a group of employees.  Tip pooling is divided among employees who customarily and regularly receive tips (waiters, waitresses, bellhops, counter personnel who serve customers, bussers, and service bartenders).  Under federal law, managers and dishwashers cannot participate in the tip pool as they do not customarily and regularly receive tips.  Dishwashers (and similar back kitchen staff) may participate in tip pooling when the employer does not participate in tip credits and pays employees the minimum wage directly. 

Am I responsible if customers grab or touch in an unwanted way my wait staff?

Every employer has a responsibility to provide a safe workplace for their staff.  The employer’s knowledge of a customer who acts in a manner that makes the workplace dangerous to staff members requires a response. Whether it be to issue a warning or actually removing the offending party from the establishment depends on the staff member’s safety and the safety of others.  Failure to act, has been found in many jurisdictions to create liability as the business may then be found to have actually permitted the behavior.

  • Disciplinary Actions
  • Employee Profit Sharing and Equity Incentive Plans Manuals, Training and Compliance
  • Employment Contracts
  • Employment Disputes and Negotiations
  • Executive Compensation Planning
  • EEOC and Civil Rights
  • General Counsel
  • Harassment and Discrimination Claims
  • LGBTQ+ in the Workplace
  • Non-Compete, Non-Solicit and Confidentiality Agreements
  • Reduction in Force and Severance Agreements
  • Restrictive Covenants and Trade Secrets Litigation
  • Trade Secret Protection and Enforcement
  • Wage and Hour Compliance and Disputes