Departing Employee Disputes, Severances, and Wrongful Termination Claims

Departing Employee Disputes

In Maryland, most employees are employed “at will,” meaning that either the employer or employee is free for any reason and at any time to terminate the employment relationship without cause or notice. Our office is experienced in advising clients on some of the most important exceptions to the
“at will” employment rule. Those exceptions may include:

  • Contractual commitments governing the reason or procedure for termination, contained in a hire letter, formal employment contract, or other written employer policies
  • Terminations that violate federal laws including whistle-blowing, Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), anti-discrimination laws and more
  • Terminations that violate Maryland laws, such as the Maryland Flexible Leave Act, the Maryland Pregnancy Discrimination Act, other Maryland anti-discrimination and workers’ compensation laws and other state laws protecting workers rights
  • Terminations in retaliation for the employee’s reporting of or refusal to engage in illegal behavior

Avoidance of departing employee disputes…

Employees may sometimes resort to litigation if they believe that their treatment was unfair or in violation of the law. Employers may consult with our firm to minimize their exposure to departing employee disputes. Such measures may include:

  • Giving the employee adequate notice of expectations or of their unsatisfactory performance
  • Training supervisors both to address and document performance issues in a clear, timely, and even-handed way
  • Drafting clear workplace policies that are in compliance with the law, and reviewing these policies regularly
  • Using a neutral person, such as an uninvolved supervisor or attorney, as a final filter to review termination decisions before they are implemented
  • Offering a departing employee severance pay and/or other severance benefits in exchange for release