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Fighting wage theft… with the Maryland Rules of Civil Procedure!

New court rules will help workers recover unpaid wages

November 6, 2017: She had finally mustered the courage to call a lawyer. After working long hours for months without overtime pay, she decided to sue her employer for those unpaid wages. The litigation stretched on for a couple years, but finally, she got a judgment for her unpaid wages, plus damages. Money she needed for groceries, rent, doctor visits. But the money didn’t come. By the time she won the judgment, the employer had hidden his assets, making himself collection-proof.

Situations like this are far too common. That’s why the Public Justice Center advocated for the Wage Lien Law. The law allows workers to put a pre-judgment lien on an employer’s property so that the employer cannot sell or hide it without having to pay the wages the employee is owed. Since the law passed in 2013, we have been testing it out, filing liens to recover wages, and training workers and other attorneys how to use the law. Part of implementing the law has also involved developing court rules to guide the process. We proposed rules to the state’s Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure, and this October, the Court of Appeals of Maryland adopted them. The rules will help court personnel across the state navigate the wage lien process when workers seek to recover their unpaid wages. The rules go into effect January 1, 2018. You can read the new rules here.

Want to know more? Join us for a conversation about the new rules at Justice for Breakfast on November 15, 2017, at 8:15 am. RSVP to Becky Reynolds at reynoldsr@publicjustice.org or 410-400-6944.

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