What to know about Maryland labor laws around labor agreements and contractor services!
Private Service Professionals and Principals should consider Maryland labor laws around labor agreements and contractor services. Precise Home Management has compiled a list of pertinent questions and asked a Maryland attorney for his take on the issue. As these topics do not relate to a specific case, “The views expressed herein are solely mine (Harrison Greene) and not intended to be legal advice.”
Previously, the Maryland legislature followed the federal government’s lead regarding harassment. However, they have taken steps to put more responsibility on the employer. Greene adds, “Now, the conduct need not be severe or pervasive if it falls into one of the three categories below:
· Submission to the conduct is made a term or condition of an individual’s employment, whether explicitly or implicitly;
· Submission to or rejection of the conduct is used as a basis for employment decisions affecting the individual; or
· Based on the totality of the circumstances, the conduct unreasonably creates a working environment that a reasonable person would perceive to be abusive or hostile.”
Principals and Private Service Professionals can find this new law at Ann. Code Md, State Gov’t § 20-601(k)
Other new features include accommodations for employees and applicants with disabilities. Writes Greene, “… a new law requires potential employers to accommodate not just an employee’s disability, but now an applicant’s as per Ann. Code Md, State Gov’t § 20-603.”
What’s Your Legal Relationship?
According to Greene, “The biggest issue I see for many corporate clients (which will affect those in the service industry) is classifying an employee or subcontractor. It can be advantageous to classify someone as a subcontractor as the requirements for benefits, withholdings, etc., do not generally apply. The law, however, will look into each factual scenario to determine what the legal relationship actually is. Those factors include but are not listed to as follows:
1. The extent to which the services rendered are an integral part of the principal’s business.
2. the permanency of the relationship
3. The amount of the alleged contractor’s investment in facilities
4. The nature and degree of control by the principal
5. The alleged contractor’s opportunities for profit and loss
6. The degree of independent business organization and operation
7. The amount of judgment in open market competition with others required for the success of claimed independent contractor.
It should be noted that these factors will be weighed in court even if a contractual agreement labels a person as an independent contractor. Thus, it is very important, considering the penalties for mistakes, to analyze each situation and work with a company like PHM and private counsel to decide which way to proceed.”
Greene continues, “Lawyers are often the target of jokes, and many times, people would rather visit their dentist than an attorney. An attorney’s skill and medium are essentially words. I cannot stress enough that every person who enters into a contractual agreement should first, READ it very carefully in its ENTIRETY. Take your time. If someone is rushing your signature on any document, get up and walk away because there is likely something wrong. Second, DO NOT BE afraid to ask questions. If you do not understand something or there is a part of the agreement not included in the contract, ask to have it included. If it is not, ask why. LASTLY, hire an attorney. Oftentimes, the cost to have an attorney review a contract is nothing compared to potential litigation costs. An attorney can advise sometimes what the reality of the document is, default provisions, and explain them more thoroughly, particularly as it relates to penalties. I strongly believe in plain language. I think you should say what you mean and mean what you say. For an employer, describes as best you can the duties and expectations. Do not say occasional Saturdays if you really mean every. For employees, if you are not able to do something, be upfront.”
Additionally, Harrison highlights, “For PHM principals, I think they should be aware of their contract’s confidentiality provision. Service workers are exposed to a lot of very personal matters and that needs to be protected. For employees, I think any provision restricting work (non-compete) is important to consider and evaluate.”
Although it may seem there are enough hurdles to overcome landing your dream position, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. So don’t feel reading a contract thoroughly is in poor taste, and if you need additional help, ask for it. Smoothing out the details at a relationship’s beginning can mean smooth sailing for Private Service Professionals and Principals alike.