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District of Columbia Commuter Benefits: New Penalties, Fines

Penalties and fines for non-compliance with Washington, D.C.’s law requiring D.C. employers to offer commuter benefits to their D.C. employees will take effect beginning on November 14, 2019.

District of Columbia Marks Start of July with Paid Family Leave Taxes

Starting on July 1, 2019, the District of Columbia will begin collecting taxes from most of the District’s private sector employers and non-profit organizations to fund a new Paid Family Leave (PFL) benefit.

D.C. District Court Vacates Core Elements of New Association Health Plan Regulations

A federal court struck down key portions of the new association health plan (AHP) regulations last week, just days before the fledgling rules for self-insured medical plans were slated to go into effect regarding newly-created AHPs.

Washington D.C. Attorney General Seeks Stronger Data Security and Breach Notification Requirements

Add Washington D.C. Attorney General Karl A. Racine’s recent data security legislative proposal – the Security Breach Protection Amendment Act of 2019 – to the growing list of states and jurisdictions across the country seeking to strengthen privacy and security protections around personal information.

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 The legislation repealed Initiative 77, a contentious ballot measure that narrowly passed this summer and that would have substantially increased the minimum wage for tipped workers.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.

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.

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.
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