Next week, voters across the country will be asked to weigh in on a variety of questions which have the potential to significantly impact employment. Here are two proposed measures in the DMV area for both employees and employers to keep their eyes on:
Increased Minimum Wage for Tipped Workers in D.C.
In D.C., Initiative 82, also known as the “Increase Minimum Wage for Tipped Employees Measure” proposes to gradually raise the minimum wage for tipped workers. Currently, the city’s minimum wage is $16.10 per hour, but the minimum wage for tipped workers is $5.05. The Initiative seeks to gradually raise this reduced minimum wage to match the standard minimum for non-tipped employees by 2027. If this initiative is passed, employers with tipped workers should consult with an employment attorney to ensure that they are in compliance with the new law. Under the D.C. Wage Payment and Collection Law, employers who are sued for failure to pay minimum wage, as well as overtime for all hours worked in excess of 40 hours per week, can face hefty penalties. This includes the possibility of triple damages and attorney’s fees.
Legalization of Marijuana in Maryland
Another measure on the ballot with the potential to significantly impact employees and employers is the proposed legalization of marijuana in Maryland. This proposed state constitutional amendment would legalize the use of cannabis for any purpose by any individual who is at least 21 years old on or after July 1, 2023. Although this constitutional amendment would legalize recreational marijuana use, nothing in the proposed measure would prohibit employers from disciplining employees who come to work high or who use/possess marijuana at work. Additionally, even if the measure passes, marijuana is still classified as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. If employees and employers have questions about the use of medical marijuana as an accommodation under the ADA, they should consult an employment attorney. Similarly, if the measure is passed, employers should consult with an employment attorney before taking any adverse actions against employees for marijuana use.