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D.C. Council Repeals Minimum Wage Increase Initiative for Tipped Workers, Adopts Training and Notice Measures to Address Wage and Harassment Issues

Earlier this month the D.C. Council, by an 8 - 5 vote, approved the “Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018.” The legislation repealed Initiative 77, a contentious ballot measure that narrowly passed this summer and that would have substantially increased the minimum wage for tipped workers. The Act nonetheless does implement a number of additional programs and requirements related not only to tipped employees, but also to addressing workplace harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement.

District of Columbia Expected to Require Sexual Harassment Training for Employers of Tipped Employees

The District of Columbia is poised to enact new sexual harassment training requirements for employers of tipped employees.

Whiplash For D.C. Employers As Council Blocks Tipped Minimum Wage Increase

When D.C. voters passed Initiative 77 in June, employers began to prepare for a steady increase in the minimum wage they would need to pay their tipped workers. The tipped minimum wage was set to slowly, but significantly, accelerate until it matched the city’s general minimum wage in the year 2026—which would be at least $15 per hour.

Refusing to Serve the Alt-Right: Recommendations for DC Area Businesses Hoping to Exclude Hate Group Members from Entry

With the growth of the Alt-Right and other hate groups in recent years, business owners face increased challenges to uphold values of diversity, ensure employee and customer safety, and protect their brand from association with customers’ possible bigotry. At the same time, questions have arisen regarding when a business may lawfully refuse to welcome or serve customers based on their views against diversity. These questions will flare up again in Washington, D.C. this weekend as white supremacist organizations convene for a “Unite the Right” rally commemorating last year's rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Restaurants and other business owners have good arguments that they may lawfully refuse entry or service to customers who appear associated with hate groups.

D.C. Employers Face Minimum Wage Increase For Tipped Workers

Employers of tipped workers in Washington, D.C. may soon face a tipping point of their own as the result of a voter initiative just approved by voters. If the law takes effect, the minimum rate of pay for such workers will steadily increase for at least the next eight years. However, before the wage hike takes effect, either Congress or the D.C. Council could take action to prevent the increase from taking effect, so employers should stay aware of developments to determine their future obligations.

The District of Columbia Eliminates the "Tip Credit"

On Tuesday, June 19, 2018, residents of the District Columbia voted to approve Initiative 77, which will incrementally phase out the “tip credit” that many employers use as an offset towards their minimum wage obligations to employees who also earn tips in connection with their work. Presently, the minimum wage in the District of Columbia is $12.50 per hour.1 However, establishments like restaurants, where tipping is common, only have to pay tipped employees $3.33 per hour2—provided that the employees’ direct wages and total tips add up to $12.50 an hour by the end of the week. If the food service worker does not earn enough in tips to reach the $12.50 per hour threshold, then the restaurant owner has to make up the difference. Initiative 77 ends this practice.

District of Columbia Voters Approve Initiative to Phase Out Minimum Wage Tip Credit by 2026

Voters in the District of Columbia have approved a ballot initiative* that will, if enacted, gradually increase the minimum direct cash wage for tipped employees so that they receive the same minimum wage directly from their employer as non-tipped employees by 2026.

D.C. District Court Rebuffs DACA Rescission

On April 24, 2018, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the decision by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to rescind the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Declaring DHS’s action to be “unlawful” and “arbitrary and capricious,” the court issued an order vacating the rescission, but permitted the Trump administration 90 days to salvage its efforts to end the program by better explaining its reasoning. As a result of the court order, should the administration fail to provide a more complete and compelling explanation to support its decision to end the program, DHS will be required to accept and process new DACA applications, as well as renewal DACA applications.

District of Columbia Enacts the Universal Paid Leave Act

In late 2016, after more than a year of debate, the District of Columbia Council voted to create one of the most generous paid leave laws in the country. After making it through the congressional review period, the Universal Paid Leave Act of 2015 (“the Act”) became effective on April 7, 2017. The Act provides covered employees with 8 weeks of paid parental leave, 6 weeks of paid family leave, and 2 weeks of paid personal medical leave. The paid leave will be funded by a 0.62% increase in DC employer payroll taxes.

New D.C. Law Restricts Employer Use of Credit Histories in Employment Decisions

On February 15, 2017, Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser signed into law the District of Columbia’s Fair Credit in Employment Amendment Act of 2016 (FCEAA). This Act, which amends the District’s Human Rights Act of 1977, follows other jurisdictions, such as New York City and Philadelphia, in significantly restricting an employer’s ability to inquire into or use an applicant’s or employee’s credit history in making employment decisions. The Act is expected to go into effect after (1) a 30-day period of congressional review and (2) publication in the District of Columbia Register.