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Researching Employment Wage & Hour Law
Employment wage and hour law is governed by both state and federal laws. Depending on the specific problem you are trying to research, you may need to research Maryland state law, federal law, or both.
In Maryland, the official source of the state statutes is the Annotated Code of Maryland. All Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries (see SAILOR, Maryland's Online Public Information Network sponsored by Maryland public libraries) carry the Annotated Code of Maryland in print.
Citations to selected Maryland employment law statutes:
- Md. Code Labor & Employment Article, Title 1: Definitions; General Provisions
- Md. Code Labor & Employment Article, Title 3: Employment Standards and Conditions [Includes restrictions on working hours, minimum wage, etc.]
The official source of the federal statutes is the United States Code. All Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries carry the United States Code in print. Many of the same libraries also carry one of the unofficial versions, the United States Code Annotated and the United States Code Service. It is a good idea to do your federal statute research in one of these unofficial print versions of the Code, because they are both more up-to-date than the official Code, and because they include summaries of cases that interpret each statute. However, below are quick links to some important federal employment-related statutes:
- The Employee Polygraph Protection Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2001-2009
- The Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 1001-1461
- The Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 201-219
- The Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. Sections 2601-2654
The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation's Division of Labor and Industry regulates wages and working hours in Maryland. The Department's regulations are published officially in Title 9, Subtitle 12 of COMAR (the Code of Maryland Administrative Regulations), the print version of which is available in all Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries. The Department's regulations are also available electronically on the Division of State Documents home page.
The U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division ("WHD") regulates minimum wages, maximum hours, and other related conditions of employment. The WHD's regulations are published officially in Title 29 of the CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations), the print version of which is available in all Maryland law libraries and many Maryland public libraries.
The Employee Benefits Security Administration ("EBSA") regulates employee benefit plans such as pensions, 401(k)s, and health plans. Its regulations are officially published in Title 29 of the CFR. They are also available electronically on the EBSA web site.
Resources for Additional Help
The resources below may help you to understand employment law. Keep in mind, however, that books that explain the law are no substitute for the law itself. You should always verify what the authors of these books say about the law by looking up the statutes, cases, and regulations the books cite. Some of these books may also include sample forms.
- Fundamentals of Employment Law / Karen E. Ford, Kerry E. Notestine, Richard N. Hill, editors. 2nd ed. Chicago, Ill.: ABA Tort and Insurance Practice, 2000.
- Maryland Employment Law / Stanley Mazaroff. 2nd ed. Charlottesville, Va.: LEXIS Publishing, c2001-.
- Maryland Employment Law: Forms and Practice Manual/ Carla N. Murphy. Brooklandville, Md : Data Trace Pub. Co., 2006.
- Your Rights in the Workplace / Barbara Kate Repa. 10th ed. Berkeley, Calif.: Nolo, 2010.
- The Employer's Legal Handbook / Fred S. Steingold. 10th ed. Berkeley, Calif.: Nolo, 2011.
There are several ways to begin research into wage and hour case law. One way is to find the statutes that apply to your situation in the Annotated Code of Maryland, the United States Code Annotated, or the United States Code Service then look at the case summaries that follow them. You can find additional cases by reading books that explain the law and noting the cases they cite. Another method of finding cases is to search the Maryland Digest, which is a subject index to Maryland case law, or the Federal Practice Digest, which is a subject index to federal case law. The Digests arrange summaries of published cases by legal issue using something called the "topic and key number" system. Once you know the topic and key number combination that represents your issue, look up that topic and key number in the Digest and you should find a list of summaries of cases that discuss your issue. Each summary includes a citation to the full text of a case.
Source:This section developed by Sara Kelley, Librarian, Georgetown University Law Library, updated by the staff of the State Law Library.
Is this legal advice?
This site offers legal information, not legal advice. We make every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information and to clearly explain your options. However we do not provide legal advice - the application of the law to your individual circumstances. For legal advice, you should consult an attorney. The Maryland State Law Library, a court-related agency of the Maryland Judiciary, sponsors this site. In the absence of file-specific attribution or copyright, the Maryland State Law Library may hold the copyright to parts of this website. You are free to copy the information for your own use or for other non-commercial purposes with the following language “Source: Maryland's People’s Law Library – www.peoples-law.org. © Maryland State Law Library, 2010.”