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

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

UPDATE - The Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 was transmitted to the US Congress on October 30, 2018, and published in the District of Columbia Register on November 2, 2018.

October 25, 2018

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

The Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 would establish a sexual-harassment training course for employees of businesses that employ tipped workers, to be administered by the D.C. government or certified third-party providers. Tipped employees would be required to receive training either in person or online within 90 days of being hired (or within two years of the date the bill takes effect if they are already on the payroll), unless they had participated in training within the past two years. Owners or operators of businesses that employ tipped employees and managers of tipped employees would be required to attend training at least once every two years (and managers would be required to attend in person).

DC Mayor Muriel Bowser approved the bill on October 24. Under the District's unusual legislative process, the bill will be transmitted to the US Congress, where it must undergo a 30-day review process before becoming law. Assuming it is not overturned by Congress (a rare event that has occurred only three times in the past 45 years), the bill would take effect after the 30-day review has ended and it is published in the District of Columbia Register.

Tip Credit Ballot Initiative Repealed

The Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act of 2018 also is expected to repeal a ballot initiative approved by D.C. voters earlier this year, which would have gradually increased 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.

The bill's main sponsor, Phil Mendelson, Chairman of the Council of the District of Columbia, said in a statement that the language on the ballot "was misleading at best, dishonest at worst."

Other Provisions Include Tip-Out Sheet and Complaint Line

In addition to the above provisions, the bill also would:

  • Require employers that employ tipped workers to provide their employees with a tip-out sheet each pay period;
  • Launch a public-education campaign to raise awareness and educate the public about the rights of tipped workers;
  • Establish a tip-violation line through which the public can report violations of D.C. wage laws;
  • Create a website to notify employees about the rights and benefits to which they are entitled under D.C. labor and anti-discrimination laws; and
  • Provide a new poster publicizing the new website, which employers must post in their workplaces.