Docket Number: 
No 56
Court of Appeals of Maryland
MWELA Amicus by Debra Gardner
Filing Date: 
September 30, 2013

Although this case involves a relatively small amount of money being unlawfully garnished from workers’ paychecks, some of the issues decided in the Court of Special Appeals will have far-reaching effects on workers who are subjected to much greater illegal deprivations of wages they have rightfully earned. Wage theft—the unlawful withholding of wages by employers—is a surprisingly widespread practice that affects vast numbers of workers in America. Amici urge this Court to render a decision that preserves the ability of low-wage workers in Maryland to obtain meaningful redress against wage theft through the Maryland Wage Payment and Collection Law (WPCL) and class action litigation. The intermediate court’s holding that the WPCL does not require employers to pay workers in full not only contradicts the statute’s plain language but also threatens to leave Maryland workers without any effective judicial remedy against many forms of wage theft. And the intermediate court’s determination that class certification was properly denied on commonality grounds will, if affirmed, undermine the important function of class action litigation in providing access to justice for large groups of employees whose employers systematically—and illegally—withhold relatively small amounts of wages owed.

Is amicus brief