District of Columbia employers with tipped wage workers have until May 31, 2024 to submit both their policy and recorded harassment complaints to demonstrate compliance with the District’s sexual harassment mandate.

With the goal of creating safer workplaces and eradicating harassment in the workplace, in 2018, DC enacted the Tipped Wage Workers Fairness Amendment Act (TWWFAA – D.C. Code 2-1411.05a), which mandates covered employers implement sexual harassment protections for tipped workers.

The law covers those employers who pay employees less than the required minimum wage (currently $17.00 per hour) and use tips paid to employees from their customers to make up the difference.  The minimum wage DC employers taking the tip credit are required to pay is currently $8.00 per hour.

Requirements of the Mandate

The law imposes three requirements for employers of tipped workers:

  1. Implementation of an anti-harassment policy;
  2. Anti-harassment training for all employees; and
  3. Mandatory Reporting to the DC Government of compliance with the first two requirements and regarding the number of complaints received by employers.

Each covered employer must adopt an anti-harassment policy that explains how employees can report instances of sexual harassment to management and to the DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) – which is the DC office charged with investigating and adjudicating harassment complaints. The policy must be provided to employees and posted in a place that is accessible to all employees in or about the employer’s premises.

Covered employers must upload their anti-harassment policy and provide information on where it is posted and who has received it to the Office of Human Rights through their online Business Self-Service Form. The deadline for submitting the employer’s policy in the online portal is May 31, 2024.

Fulfilling the Anti-Harassment Training Requirements

Covered employers must provide anti-harassment training to all new employees within 90 days of hire unless the employee has participated in the training with a prior employer within the past 2 years.  Existing employees must receive training on the following schedule:

  • Managers – in-person training at least once every two years
  • Owners & Operators — in person or online at least once every two years
  • All other employees  – in person or online at least once every two years

Anti-Harassment training must be provided by a trainer who is certified by the Office of Human Rights. After completing training, covered DC employers must submit to the Office of Human Rights information demonstrating who received the training, when, and the method and identity of the trainer.

Finally, covered DC Employers are required to report to OHR the number of instances of sexual harassment reported to management.  The employer must specify the role of the reported harasser, e.g. manager, owner, operator, or non-manager/rank and file employee.  These reports must be made through the Office of Human Rights’ online Business Self-Service Form by May 31, 2024 and on an annual basis thereafter.

Covered employers seeking assistance with developing an anti-harassment policy, training their workers, or responding to claims of harassment are encouraged to reach out to the Lerch Early employment attorney with whom they regularly work.

Julie Reddig is an OHR certified trainer and able to provide anti-harassment training in person or on zoom to any DC employer of tipped workers. For more information on these issues, you can reach her at [email protected] or 301-961-6099.