BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ — Thursday, in Washington, D.C., United States Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) sent a letter to Alexander Acosta, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), expressing concern about reports that DOL leadership hid from the public a damaging analysis showing that its proposed rule allowing employers to collect their workers’ tips would cause workers to lose billions of dollars in pay.

MA Senator Elizabeth Warren

In December, the Department of Labor published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would rescind an Obama-era regulation clarifying that tips are the property of the workers who receive them, not their employers. According to a report published today by Bloomberg Law, the DOL conducted an internal analysis of its proposed tipping rule that showed that its proposal would cost workers billions of dollars in tips. Senior DOL officials, after ordering staff to revise their methodology, were reportedly unsatisfied with the revised analysis and therefore excluded the analysis from the NPRM published in December. The very existence of this analysis appears to contradict the DOL’s claims in December that it was unable to quantify the proposed rule’s effects on employee earnings. The report also notes that individuals in the Office of Management and Budget staff were aware of the hidden data.

In her letter to Secretary Acosta, Senator Warren wrote: “I am alarmed and angry at these reports. If true they reveal that you and other DOL officials moved forward – and continue to move forward – on this proposal even though you were aware that it would cost workers billions of dollars, and that you acted to hide this information from the public during the rulemaking process.”

Senator Warren’s letter requested copies of all internal analyses and communications regarding the NPRM and also requested that the DOL delay the end of the public notice-and-comment period, which is currently scheduled to end in four days, to allow the public to consider the analysis. “In order to provide informed comment on the proposed rule, the public must be aware of and have access to the Department’s analysis of the proposal’s effects on millions of American workers, which, according to one public estimate, may total $5.8 billion in just one year,” wrote Senator Warren.

Senator Warren’s letter also requested that the DOL withdraw the proposed rule entirely if today’s report is true.

Text of letter (PDF):