United States: The D.C. Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act Goes Into Effect Today – What D.C. Employers Need To Know

Today, the highly anticipated – and already twice-amended – D.C. Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act (the "Act") goes into effect for Washington, D.C. employers. In November 2014, then-D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray, signed the Act, which includes, among other things, a new pay notice requirement, increased penalties and damages for violating various D.C. employment laws, and an expedited administrative enforcement process that employees can utilize instead of bringing a civil action. Our previous blog posts on the Act and its amendments can be found here, here, and here.

Now that the Act has become law, D.C. employers need to know about the new requirements imposed upon them, particularly given the amendments made to the Act since it was originally signed by the Mayor.

Some key provisions of the Act are summarized below:

New Pay Notice Requirements

Within 90 days of today (the Act's effective date), employers must provide every employee with written notice containing the following information:

  • The name of the employer and any "other names used by the employer (i.e., official corporate names or trade names);
  • The physical address of the employer's main office or principal place of business, and a mailing address, if different;
  • The telephone number of the employer;
  • The employee's rate of pay and the basis of that rate, any allowances claimed as part of the minimum wage, overtime rate of pay, exemptions from overtime pay, living wage, exemptions from the living wage, and the applicable prevailing wages;
  • The employee's regular payday designated by the employer; and
  • Any other information the Mayor considers to be material and necessary.

The Mayor is supposed to issue a template notice within 60 days of the Act's effective date (February 26, 2015).

The original Act required employers to provide the notice in the employee's primary language. Thankfully, this potentially burdensome and logistically difficult requirement was amended by the D.C. Council through an emergency piece of legislation. Accordingly, now employers only have to provide pay notices in an employee's primary language if the employer knows the employee has a primary language other than English, or the employee requests the notice in another language, and the Mayor has prepared a template notice in that language.

Employers must also provide amended notices to employees any time any of the above information is changed (including, but not limited to, any time an employee's rate of pay increases or decreases).

All notices must be signed and dated by the employer and the employee. Employers must retain copies of the signed notices as proof of compliance. Employers that fail to comply with the Act's notice requirements are subject to civil fines of $500 per employee.

Expanded Scope and Penalties of Other D.C. Employment Laws

The Act also amends the Wage Payment and Wage Collection Law ("WPWCL") (D.C. Code §§ 32-1301, et seq.), the Living Wage Act ("LWA") (D.C. Code §§ 2-220.01, et seq.), the Minimum Wage Revision Act ("MWRA") (D.C. Code §§ 32-100, et seq.), and the Accrued Sick and Safe Leave Act ("ASSLA") (D.C. Code §§ 32-131.01, et seq.) in a number of respects.

With respect to the WPWCL, the Act requires that employee employers record the "precise time worked each day and each workweek by each" employee. Additionally, the Act requires that employers pay all non-exempt employees twice per month. The original version of the Act imposed these requirements on all employees, including exempt employees. The D.C. Council's emergency amendments to the Act have clarified that these requirements apply only to non-exempt employees.

Additionally, the Act imposes joint and several liability on general contractors for violations of the above-noted laws by their subcontractors, including failure to properly pay wages. It also imposes joint and several liability on employers for any violations by temporary staffing agencies they may use. The Act's amendments provide a very limited exception to these impositions of automatic liability in circumstances where the contract between the general contractor and subcontractor, or between the employer and temporary staffing agency explicitly provides otherwise and the contract was in effect prior to the effective date of the Act (February 26, 2015).

Under the Act, there is also a new detailed administrative process for pursuing complaints under the MWRA, the LWA, the ASSLA and the WPWCL. This process, which is meant to be fast-tracked, is not subject to appeal on the merits, and has the potential to be burdensome and invasive for employers.

If the administrative process is not utilized, the Act expands the civil action provision in the WPWCL to claims brought under the MWRA, ASSLA and the LWA. Prevailing parties are currently entitled to attorneys' fees, costs and appropriate legal and equitable remedies, including back pay and reinstatement. As a result of the Act, liquidated damages under the MWRA have increased to three times the amount of unpaid wages.

The Act will also make it easier to pursue class-wide relief by defining "similarly situated" employees as two or more persons who are employed by the same employer at some point during the applicable statute of limitations period, who allege one or more violations that raise similar questions as to liability, and who seek similar forms of relief. The Act expressly provides that employees cannot be considered dissimilar because they seek different amounts in damages or have different job titles or classifications.

In addition, any business found guilty or liable in any judicial or administrative proceeding of committing or attempting to commit willful violations of these laws cannot be issued a license to do business for the three-year period following the violation.

Prohibited Retaliation

The Act prohibits retaliating against any employee who made or is believed to have made a complaint regarding a violation of any provision of the WPWCL, MWRA or the LWA; initiates a proceeding under the Act; provides information to any government agency, or any other person regarding a violation, investigation, or proceeding under the Act or testifies regarding the same; or otherwise exercises their rights under the Act.

Retaliation is presumed to have occurred if an adverse action is taken against the employee within 90 days of the protected activity. Employees can bring a civil action or file an administrative complaint asserting a retaliation claim. Employers found liable for retaliation will be subject to a variety of penalties, including economic damages, civil penalties, liquidated damages, attorneys' fees, and injunctive relief (including reinstatement of the complaining employee).

What Employers Should Do

Given the increased penalties provided for in the Act, Employers should make sure they are aware of the Act's provisions and take steps to ensure they are in compliance. Some recommended actions are set forth in our client alert on the Act, available here.

The D.C. Wage Theft Prevention Amendment Act Goes Into Effect Today – What D.C. Employers Need To Know

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions