Attorney General Racine to Trump Administration: Let Workers Keep Tips They Earn

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Joining a coalition of 17 attorneys general, Attorney General Karl A. Racine today filed comments opposing a Trump Administration effort to scrap rules guaranteeing that workers can keep all the tips they earn. In 2011, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued a rule clarifying that, consistent with long-established understanding, gratuities are the sole property of employees. Now, changes proposed to that 2011 rule by the Trump Administration would allow employers to pocket tips earned by employees who are paid at least the federal minimum wage.

These changes could result in employers taking up to $5.8 billion of workers’ earned tips, according to the Economic Policy Institute. And DOL, which is spearheading the rule change, reportedly decided to shelve an economic analysis that highlighted the billions in gratuity earnings that workers could lose.

The letter is part of Attorney General Racine’s broader effort to protect workers from unscrupulous employers. Last year, the Attorney General launched a comprehensive initiative to fight wage theft, including resources for workers and new staff attorneys and other resources to bring legal actions against employers who deny workers the full wages they are owed.

The coalition of Attorneys General filing public comment on this rule change is being led by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro. In addition to Attorney General Racine, they are joined by the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Virginia, and Vermont.

More information about the proposed change can be found in the comments the attorneys general filed with DOL, available here.