Docket Number: 
No. 86
Court of Appeals of Maryland
MWELA Amicus by Daniel A. Katz, et al.
Filing Date: 
December 16, 2013

The Circuit Court erred in its application of the Maryland Wage Payment and Collections Law (WPCL) when it declined to award Appellant Muriel Peters treble damages after Appellee Early Healthcare Giver, Inc.’s (EHCG) illegally withheld her earned overtime wages. Md. Code Ann. Lab. & Empl. § 3-507.2(b). Treble damages are available to plaintiffs under the WPCL in order to deter employers from violating minimum wage and hour standards; to reduce the costs associated with public enforcement and private litigation; as well as to fully compensate workers for the collateral economic consequences they may experience when their wages are illegally withheld.

If Maryland courts continue to ignore the statutory language of the WPCL and decline to award treble damages awards in wage theft cases, as the lower court did here, such actions will eviscerate the power of the WPCL and send a strong message to unscrupulous employers, including home care agencies, that they may violate this law at little or no cost, thus completely undermining the intent of the Maryland General Assembly. This appeal presents the Court with an opportunity to affirm the critical role that treble damages play in wage theft cases, and to uphold the state’s promise of protection to Maryland workers by enforcing the WPCL vigorously, equitably, and accurately.

Robust enforcement and its deterrent and compensatory effects are especially important in low-wage industries like home care, in which Appellant is employed. Tens of thousands of Maryland residents depend on home care workers to help get them out of bed in the morning, prepare their meals, and transport them safely to the doctor. But these workers often cannot rely on getting paid for their important work. As a result, morale is low, turnover is high, and all those who depend on or expect to depend on their services suffer. Awarding Ms. Peters the full amount of treble damages allowed under the WPCL is a crucial step towards ensuring greater employer accountability and baseline standards. Such an award would also serve to stabilize the home care industry so it can deliver a decent livelihood to workers and quality home care services to the people of Maryland, and would uphold the Maryland General Assembly’s intent when it passed and amended the WPCL.

Is amicus brief

Looking for an Employment Lawyer?

Use MWELA’s Find A Lawyer search, in the left navigation bar. Select a practice area: the search will provide you with 10 names randomly selected from MWELA members who practice in that area and who have paid an additional fee to be listed in the search directory. The search results include the name, address, phone number, email address, website, and practice areas of attorneys who meet your search criteria. Note that more than 10 members may practice in any given area; additional searches may yield additional names.

MWELA does not provide legal advice and is not responsible for the advice or services provided by the attorneys included in the Find a Lawyer search.

Attorneys: MWELA Sustaining Members and Presidents Club Members are included in the Find a Lawyer search. If you wish to upgrade your membership be included in the search, contact

Become a MWELA Member

Welcome to the Web site of MWELA — the Metropolitan Washington Employment Lawyers Association. We are about 300 lawyers who represent people in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia.

As advocates for employee rights and civil rights, we work to protect the rights and privileges of employees in both the private and public sectors of the Washington metropolitan area workforce. We are dedicated to promoting workplace fairness and the right of employees to work in an environment free of discrimination. MWELA provides assistance, support and resources to members throughout the metropolitan area to attain the highest ideals of practice and encourage the sharing of expertise and skills to best serve our clients.

On our vibrant and active listserve, MWELA members share strategies, tips, and responses to queries regarding both routine and novel employment law issues. The listserve is also available as an on-line searchable database, a powerful research tool.

MWELA holds monthly Brown Bag gatherings featuring presentations on trial strategies and techniques, emerging employment law issues, use of new courtroom technologies, successful litigation efforts, and other matters critical to a successful employment law practice.

Our Moot Court Committee regularly prepares our members for oral argument before appellate courts. MWELA's Amicus Committee produces thoughtful and excellent briefs on important policy matters before the courts of appeals, lending a powerful persuasive voice for the plaintiff and for employees generally. MWELA produces a monthly Newsletter covering member news, victories, and key decisions.

At our all-day Annual Conference, MWELA presents local and federal judges, colleagues, and outside experts on topics concerning all aspects of the plaintiff's employment practice. We also present our annual Lawyer of the Year award.

MWELA maintains an on-line Brief Bank, with ready arguments, briefs, and pleadings. MWELA works toward changes in public policy through the lobbying efforts of our members, to strengthen anti-discrimination and related workplace laws.

MWELA Case Advisory service offers two programs to both MWELA members and non-members. One is a Three-member Clinic Panel, which reviews a lawyer’s case either before it is filed or after it is pending and possibly encountering difficulties. The other is a Single Advisor Legal Consultation where an experienced MWELA attorney provides advice and tips on a particular topic to a less experienced lawyer. Topics may include areas of substantive law and procedure, litigation and trial practice, appeals, settlement agreements, and particular Court and administrative forums with which a lawyer may be unfamiliar. 

NELA MWELA is the local affiliate of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA). NELA and its 68 state and local affiliates have more than 3,000 members. We strongly encourage our members to join NELA. For more information, please contact Ms. Colleen Goodin, Membership Director, NELA, (415) 296-7629 ( or go to for an application. MWELA members receive a discount on NELA dues.

MWELA members can access our brief bank, listserve and newsletter archives, board meeting information, and other resources. If you are a lawyer and devote a majority of your employment practice to representing plaintiffs, join us.