Warner Session focuses on air, traffic control with MWAA

June 7, 2019

Warner Session is chairman of the board for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

Article provided by   – Special Projects Editor, Washington Business Journal

When it comes to airline travel, Warner Session doesn’t have too many pet peeves. That is, unless the person seated in front of him decides to lean their seat back.

“I always get what I call the leaners,” Session says, laughing. Really, who can blame him? There’s a lot that can go wrong with transportation and Session has heard it all as chairman of the board for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. An attorney by trade, Session joined the board in 2011 and considers his role a labor of love as MWAA helps to oversee not only projects at Dulles International and Reagan National airports, but also the Dulles Toll Road and the ongoing expansion of Metro’s Silver Line.

You were raised in California. How did you end up in Greater Washington? After I graduated Stanford, I came back east to go to law school at Georgetown. I had no intention of staying, but here I am 40 years later. I started in the political arena, working for the D.C. Council.

Where did you go after politics? I started my own practice, now Session Law Firm. I always had an entrepreneurial instinct and having worked on the Hill, I made an incredible amount of contacts.

What’s been the focus of your practice? I’ve worked with a lot of federal agencies on their small business programs. I like seeing businesses grow and working with them as they enter the federal arena and all the challenges that comes with trying to do business with the government. I still have a government contracting focus, but I do represent medium- and large-sized companies as well.

How would you describe yourself as a boss? I’m an easy boss. I delegate. It’s pretty easy because I have just one full-time employee.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into politics or law? Do it. Even though politics is sometimes bad, it’s good to be part of the process. Policies influence our lives in every way.

What sparked your interest in transportation and aviation? When I was working for a member of Congress, we had an oversight subcommittee that she chaired on transportation. We had jurisdiction over the Federal Aviation Administration. The most interesting thing we had oversight of was the bombing of Pan Am 103 over (more…)

Minnesota Passes Sweeping Wage-Theft and Employer Recordkeeping Law

May 29, 2019

 

Felhaber Larson: Minnesota Passes Sweeping Wage-Theft and Employer Recordkeeping Law

During a special session over the Memorial Day Weekend, the Minnesota House and Senate passed an omnibus bill that creates new civil and criminal penalties for “wage theft.”  The bill also creates new recordkeeping requirements for Minnesota employers, including the requirement to keep a signed “wage statement” for each employee.

Gov. Walz has indicated that he will sign the bill so it will become effective on August 1, 2019.  Here is what the new law will do:

Wage Theft

The new law will make it a crime to commit “wage theft.”  Wage theft is any of the following actions by an employer with “intent to defraud”:

·         failing to pay an employee all wages, salary, gratuities, earnings, or commissions as required by federal, state, or local law;

·         directly or indirectly causing any employee to give a receipt for wages for a greater amount than that actually paid to the employee for services rendered;

·         directly or indirectly demanding or receiving from any employee any rebate or refund from the wages owed the employee; or

·         making it appear in any manner that the wages paid to any employee were greater than the amount actually paid to the employee.

If the value of wage theft exceeds $35,000, a person may be sentenced to prison for up to 20 years, a fine of up to $100,000, or both.
The wage theft protections will apply to actions that occur on or after August 1, 2019.

Revised Recordkeeping and New “Wage Statements” Requirement

The new law includes several additional recordkeeping requirements for Minnesota employers as well as additional authority for the Minnesota Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) to monitor compliance.

(more…)

Standing Up for District Workers

May 13, 2019

Standing Up for District Workers

 

From the Office of the Attorney General

www.oag.dc.gov

A study by the Economic Policy Institute found that low-wage workers lose an average of $64 per week—or more than $3,300 per year—when employers refuse to pay employees what they are rightfully owed. This is called “wage theft” and it is illegal in the District of Columbia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In instances where employers take advantage of their workers, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) can take legal action to hold them accountable. Last week, we announced our largest wage theft win to date. OAG secured a settlement with Airway Sheet Metal Co. that will provide more than $100,000 in unpaid wages to 40 workers. Our investigation found evidence that, from 2015 to 2017, Airway failed to properly pay its workers overtime rates and failed to provide them with any paid sick leave, as required by District law.

Last year, OAG stepped up wage theft enforcement after working with the D.C. Council on legislation granting the agency independent authority to investigate and bring these cases. To date, OAG has obtained over $250,000 in judgments and settlements against businesses that have stolen wages from District workers.

If you believe your rights have been violated by your employer, report it to OAG at (202) 442-9854 or submit a complaint to the Department of Employment Services. Workers can also learn about their rights to fair wages, overtime pay, and sick leave with our free resources.

OAG will continue to hold employers accountable when they fail to pay workers what they have rightfully earned.

 

 

 

Karl A. Racine
Attorney General

Amazon Intends to Prevent Wage Theft

March 20, 2019

 

The Amazon representative speaking to the Washington Business Journal said, “We’ve been having some conversations with the building trades, ensuring there is a workforce agreement in place, one of the priorities of that would be wage theft. In Seattle, Amazon expanded by 3 million square feet. We used 90 percent of building trades on that project. That project was delivered on time and efficiently.”

 

 

IRS Enforcement Facing Collapse

After Budget Cuts, the IRS’s Work Against Tax Cheats is Facing “Collapse”

ProPublica

October 1, 2018

https://www.propublica.org/article/after-budget-cuts-the-irs-work-against-tax-cheats-is-facing-collapse

 

The following are excerpts from the article:

 

Last year, the IRS’s criminal division brought 795 cases in which tax fraud was the primary crime, a decline of almost a quarter since 2010. “That is a startling number,” Don Fort, the chief of criminal investigations for the IRS, acknowledged at an NYU tax conference in June.

 

Bringing cases against people who evade taxes on legal income is central to the revenue service’s mission. In addition to recouping lost revenue, such cases are supposed “to influence taxpayer behavior for the hundreds of millions of American citizens filing tax returns,” Fort said. With fewer cases, experts fear, Americans will get the message that it’s all right to break the law.

 

“Due to budget cuts, attrition and a shift in focus, there’s been a collapse in the commitment to take on tax fraud,” said Chuck Pine, who used to be the third-ranking criminal enforcement officer at the IRS and is now a managing director at BDO Consulting. “I believe there are thousands of individuals who have U.S. tax obligations and are not complying with U.S. tax laws.”

 

The result is huge losses for the government. Business owners don’t pay $125 billion in taxes each year that they owe, according to IRS estimates. That’s enough to finance the departments of State, Energy and Homeland Security, with NASA tossed in for good measure. Unlike wage earners who have their income separately reported to the IRS, business owners are often on the honor system.

 

But the rate at which the agency audits tax returns has plummeted by 42 percent since the budget cuts started. Criminal referrals were always rare and are becoming rarer still, dropping from 589 referrals in 2012 to 328 in 2016. With the government conducting 1.2 million audits in 2016, that’s one criminal referral for roughly every 3,600 audits.

 

In addition, current and former IRS agents say that audits are not as intensive as they used to be. Because the IRS pushes agents to close audits more quickly, they make fewer requests for records and interviews.

 

Budget cuts have diminished the criminal investigation division, trimming the number of agents by a fifth since 2010. Recently, the IRS closed four of its 25 field offices, according to Fort. In New York state, home of the country’s financial industry, the revenue service is down to 161 agents, about a hundred fewer than it had 15 years ago.

 

Representative of the General President
United Brotherhood of Carpenters
and Joiners of America
101 Constitution Ave., NW

Washington, DC 20001
mobile: (203) 231-0398
mattclu210@gmail.com

DLLR Worker Misclassification

7/24/18

 

At the Construction Roundtable Meeting on June 28th, Kathy Sibbald reported on the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation’s (DLLR) efforts regarding enforcement. She reported that there were 750 work-sites visited resulting in 138 new cases last year.

Sibbald is a DLLR administrator overseeing employment standards, prevailing and living wage, and worker classification protection.

She said the state collected $22,000 in fines and is in the process of hiring four new investigators.

Jim Tudor, program administrator for Prevailing and Living Wage and Worker Classification Protection Unit spoke about the need for contractors to submit the state’s prevailing wage survey.

DLLR Commissioner  Matt Helminiak and Labor Secretary Kelly Schulz also spoke at the meeting.

 

-Bernie Brill

Executive Director

SMACNA Mid-Atlantic Chapter

New Amendment at DC City Council

6/7/18

A new amendment at DC City Council has been proposed affecting the garnishment of wages. On Wednesday, July 11, 2018 CM Elissa Silverman is holding a round-tablebefore the Committee on Labor and Workforce’s implementation of the Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act of 2016.  The committee will review quarterly reports due by June 30 in addition to the status of other elements implementation.

 

Please let Doug know if you wish to testify before July 9, 2018. You may also submit written statement to Ms. Royster at labor@dccouncil.us.

 

On another subject, Council members Grosso, Nadeau, Bonds, Silverman, Evans, and White are sponsoring this amendment to prevent wage garnishment from individuals making less than the DC living wage, to limit the amount that (more…)

Testimony from DC Employment Services – Labor & Workforce Development

 

 

Full Video

 

“Testimony related to the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) at the DC Council Committee on Labor & Workforce Development’s Budget Oversight Hearing on April 18th

 

Please note- testimony from Fred Codding and Vic Cornellier can be witnessed at time 2 hour 07 mins – 2 hour 27 mins.  

Employment Services Department

The DC Department of Employment Services has issued proposed regulations for the Universal Paid Leave Program. A copy of those proposed rules is attached. Should you wish to provide comments on the proposed regulations please do so prior to the deadline. Since the rules were published in the D.C. Register in early April, they will remain open for public comment in not less than thirty (30) days after publication of the notice. Deadline is Monday, May 7th.

The bill which passed on April 7, 2017, covers anyone working in the District even though the company is domiciled in Maryland or Virginia. The Act provides covered employees with 8 weeks of paid parental leave, 6 weeks of paid family leave, and 2 weeks of paid personal medical leave.  The paid leave will be funded by a 0.62% increase in DC employer payroll taxes.

Employers need to be aware that this bill covers District residents as well as those from Maryland and Virginia if they are working in the District. However, it does not cover a District resident who is working in another jurisdiction. Under the Act, “eligible individuals” may request paid leave following the occurrence of certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. “Eligible individuals” include: (1) individuals who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period preceding the occurrence of a qualifying event; or (2) self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program, and who spent more than 50 percent of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period preceding the occurrence of a qualifying event.

“Covered employees” include employees of “covered employers” who: (1) spend more than 50 percent of their work time in D.C. working for that employer; or (2) who regularly spend a substantial amount of time working for that employer in D.C., and who do not spend more than 50 percent of their work time for that employer in another jurisdiction.

“Covered employers” include: (1) any individual, partnership, general contractor, subcontractor, association, corporation, business trust, or group of persons who employs or exercises control over employees and is required to pay D.C. unemployment insurance on the employees’ behalf; or (2) self-employed individuals who opt into the paid-leave program. The D.C. and Federal governments are excluded from the definition of “covered employer.”

Under the Act, “eligible individuals” may request paid leave following the occurrence of certain qualifying events, subject to a one-week waiting period during which time no benefits are payable. “Eligible individuals” include: (1) individuals who have been “covered employees” during some or all of the 52-week period preceding the occurrence of a qualifying event; or (2) self-employed individuals who have opted into the paid leave program, and who spent more than 50 percent of their work time in D.C. during some or all of the 52-week period preceding the occurrence of a qualifying event.

“Covered employees” include employees of “covered employers” who: (1) spend more than 50 percent of their work time in D.C. working for that employer; or (2) who regularly spend a substantial amount of time working for that employer in D.C., and who do not spend more than 50 percent of their work time for that employer in another jurisdiction.

“Covered employers” include: (1) any individual, partnership, general contractor, subcontractor, association, corporation, business trust, or group of persons who employs or exercises control over employees and is required to pay D.C. unemployment insurance on the employees’ behalf; or (2) self-employed individuals who opt into the paid-leave program. The D.C. and Federal governments are excluded from the definition of “covered employer.”

 

Employment Services Department of 7 DCMR Ch. 34 Paid Leave