Fighting Wage Theft & Protecting Workers’ Rights
Dear Fellow Washingtonians,
At the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia (OAG), we’re committed to protecting the rights of District workers and ensuring that businesses compete on a level playing field.
The talented and hardworking professionals in OAG’s Workers’ Rights and Antifraud Section investigate potential cases and bring enforcement actions when merited. In just the past month, we have announced a lawsuit and multiple settlements in cases involving employers that violated District laws:
- We announced a settlement with Prestige Drywall—a construction company that operates in DC—to resolve allegations that it extensively misclassified workers as independent contractors instead of employees. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will be barred from doing business in the District of Columbia for five years and will pay $359,000 to harmed workers and $244,000 in penalties.
- We also announced a settlement with Chipotle—a popular fast-casual restaurant chain—to resolve allegations of child labor law violations. Under the terms of the settlement, the company will pay the District over $322,000 and adopt a new, comprehensive training and workplace compliance plan. OAG will dedicate a portion of its proceeds to connecting District kids with apprenticeships and workforce training opportunities.
- And we announced a lawsuit against the restaurant Swahili Village DC and its executives for persistently and systematically failing to pay hundreds of hard-working restaurant employees the wages, tips, and benefits to which they were legally entitled. With this lawsuit, we’re seeking to recover the wages owed to restaurant workers, and to impose penalties for a variety of wage-and-hour violations.
With Labor Day around the corner, I am reminded that the holiday is rooted in our country’s fight for fair working conditions and was originally designed to honor workers as part of the organized labor movement. I invite you to join me in reflecting upon the many contributions workers make to ensuring the strength and well-being of our communities here in the District and across the nation.
Wishing you and yours a safe, restful and meaningful Labor Day holiday.
ADVISORY: What Are Extreme Risk Protection Orders?
Last week, we issued a Public Safety Advisory on DC’s “Red Flag” law, which allows certain residents to take action by having firearms removed from the possession of potentially dangerous individuals, one of several tools we use to address gun violence and improve public safety. Reducing the number of individuals and families adversely impacted by gun violence requires collaboration between government and well-informed, vigilant citizens. Click here to read the full Advisory.
Join Us to Observe or Testify at the Providence Hospital Conversion Public Hearing
OAG is reviewing the proposed sale of the Providence Hospital site and will hold a public hearing to provide detailed information and receive stakeholder and resident input. Join us on Wednesday, September 6th 6:00PM at The University of the District of Columbia Community College Lamond-Riggs Campus (formerly Bertie Backus) to observe or testify. Click here to RSVP.
CONSUMER ALERT: Looking for a Place to Rent in DC? Watch Out for Fake Listings & Rental Fee Scams!
Are you a new renter looking online for a place to live in DC or do you know someone who is? Earlier this month, we issued a consumer alert to warn renters about rental scams and to offer tips on how to avoid being scammed. We urge residents to be on the lookout for scams targeting students and short-term renters.
ADVISORY: Ensuring Restaurants Comply with Consumer Protection Laws
Earlier this month, my office issued a Supplemental Business Advisory to help address continuing consumer confusion around restaurant fees, including “service fees.” Developed in collaboration with industry stakeholders, the Advisory is designed to help restaurants comply with District consumer protection laws, ensures pricing transparency for diners, and seeks to preserve fair wages for restaurant workers.
CONSUMER ALERT: Avoiding Home Improvement Scams & Disputes
Are you looking to upgrade, remodel, or improve your home? OAG recently issued a consumer alert in collaboration with the DC Department of Buildings and the Department of Licensing and Consumer Protection, offering tips on red flags to avoid being scammed.
Resolving Several Financial Exploitation Cases Involving Elders & Vulnerable Adults
Far too often, seniors and vulnerable adults are taken advantage of and fall victim to financial scams. Today, we announced resolutions in three separate cases involving the financial exploitation of seniors or at-risk District residents. The defendants in these cases manipulated and stole money from their victims, for their own personal enrichment. As these cases show, we are working aggressively to protect vulnerable residents, recover money taken from them, and prevent fraudsters from exploiting others.
Honoring the 60th Anniversary of the March on Washington
60 years ago—on August 28, 1963—more than 250,000 people from across the country traveled to the District of Columbia for the March on Washington. It was a historic moment in our country’s centuries-long fight for civil rights and racial justice. In the six decades since Dr. King addressed our country from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, our Nation has made real and meaningful strides toward becoming a more just and equal place to live and work. Despite this progress, we know a long road lies ahead. As we continue moving forward, there are organized, well-funded, and powerful forces working to push us backward.
DC has a long history of structural and systemic racial discrimination, a history that has contributed directly to the extreme racial wealth, racial income, and racial opportunity gaps in our city. That history goes back more than 200 years, when Congress enacted laws to ensure that our Black-majority city could not govern itself or access full political power. We continue to live with the legacy of legislated inequality as we fight for autonomy over local affairs and voting representation for over 700,000 residents. Make no mistake: our fight for statehood is grounded in racial justice.
Dr. King observed that justice sits at the intersection of love and power. At the Office of Attorney General, we work every day at that intersection. We have the unique responsibility and privilege to use the law to help ensure that every Washingtonian has the opportunity to thrive. All of us have an obligation to make sure that the “arc of the moral universe,” which Dr. King famously invoked, continues on its long path towards justice. We will not allow it to bend back on our watch.
Let this anniversary serve not only as a commemoration, but a continuation–a reminder to meet the urgency of this moment. To honor the legacy of Dr. King and everyone who participated in the March on Washington, let us redouble our efforts to fight back against injustice and to repel attacks on our democracy and fundamental rights.
There is much work left to do.