Maryland same-sex marriage law goes into effect January 1

by Kevin C. McCormick

Maryland’s new law allowing same-sex marriage takes effect January 1, 2013, meaning employers need to understand what changes are in store for the workplace.

The General Assembly passed the law legalizing same-sex marriage that Governor Martin O’Malley signed on March 12, 2012. However, the new law was on hold until Maryland voters decided to uphold it in a referendum held November 6.

Now that the law has been approved, Maryland employers are obligated to apply it in the workplace. Administering benefits to employees in same-sex marriages may be problematic. For example, while the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides certain benefits to spouses, it isn’t clear if spousal benefits will apply to employees in same-sex marriages since the federal Defense of Marriage Act bars such individuals from receiving federal rights or benefits, regardless of whether state benefits are permitted.

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Maryland Passes Law Prohibiting Employers from Seeking Social Media Passwords

April 10, 2012 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin McCormick

Maryland has become the first state to enact password protection legislation designed to prohibit employers from requiring applicants and employees to disclose their personal passwords to social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and MySpace.

The legislation was passed April 9 and is expected to be signed by Governor Martin O’Malley. If signed, it will take effect October 1.

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Categories: Maryland / States (List)


States Retain Sovereign Immunity from Suit Under FMLA Self-Care Provisions

March 21, 2012 - by: Holly Jones 1 COMMENTS

In a 5-4 opinion delivered Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court held that state employers are immune from suit for damages under the self-care provisions of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

In the case, Daniel Coleman sued his employer, the Court of Appeals of the State of Maryland, for $1.1 million in damages when he was refused sick leave to attend to a documented medical condition. The lower courts dismissed Coleman’s case, holding that the claim was barred by the Eleventh Amendment’s grant of sovereign immunity to states, which prevents states from being sued for monetary damages.

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Categories: FMLA / Maryland / U.S. Supreme Court

IRS Offering Employers Break on Misclassification

September 22, 2011 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

Employers worried that they may have misclassified independent contractors may find relief in a new program from the IRS.

The Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (VCSP) was announced September 21 and offers employers the opportunity to get into compliance by making a minimal payment covering past payroll tax obligations rather than waiting for an IRS audit.

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New Maryland Law Restricts Use of Credit Checks

September 20, 2011 - by: HR Hero 0 COMMENTS

By David M. Stevens

During its 2011 legislative session, the Maryland Legislature passed the Job Applicant Fairness Act, which was signed into law by Governor Martin O’Malley on April 12. The law imposes significant restrictions on employers’ ability to perform credit checks on job applicants and employees. It goes into effect October 1.

For many employers, obtaining a credit report on prospective employees has become a routine part of the hiring process. However, the new law will require Maryland employers to reevaluate and in some cases limit use of credit reports.

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Categories: Maryland

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Maryland: ‘True Blue’ Victors May Need Low Profile

November 04, 2010 - by: HR Hero Alerts 0 COMMENTS

by Kevin McCormick, Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, L.L.P.

Against the national trend to oust the incumbents, Maryland remained a “true blue” state. We returned most of our Democratic incumbents, including Governor Martin O’Malley, Senator Barbara Mikulski, Attorney General Doug Gansler, Comptroller Peter Franchot, and a host of other Democratic congressional members.

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