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Parent company of Olive Garden violates the Civil Rights Act with its tipping policies, activists say

Activists looking to eliminate the sub-minimum wage for tipped employees — a practice that they say keeps workers in poverty, encourages sexual harassment and leads to racial discrimination — are taking a new approach in their campaign to end the two-tiered wage system in America: They’re arguing the lower tipped wage, sometimes as little as $2.13 an hour, violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The first test of this strategy arrived Tuesday. One Fair Wage, a national worker-advocacy group, filed a federal complaint against Darden Restaurants Inc., one of the largest hospitality groups in the country, alleging that the company’s practice of paying tipped workers a sub-minimum wage causes them to suffer more sexual harassment than non-tipped workers and leads employees of color to earn less in tips than their White co-workers. The practice, the group argues, violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

Rich Jeffers, a senior director of communications for Darden, which includes such national chains as Olive Garden and the Capital Grille, said “these allegations are baseless” in a statement to The Washington Post. “Darden is a values-based company built on a culture of integrity and fairness, respect and caring, and a longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.”

One Fair Wage pursued its latest legal strategy on tipping after discovering a research paper written by an attorney who was pursuing a graduate degree at Harvard Law School. The paper made the argument that the sub-minimum wage violates the Civil Rights Act, based on tipping research conducted by, among others, professor Michael Lynn of Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration.

The paper “resonated so strongly with what we had heard from workers

House GOP China task force releases report on combating Chinese Communist Party: ‘The U.S. must act decisively’

House Republicans Wednesday will release the results of their monthslong probe into the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and how the U.S. can turnaround a “failed” engagement strategy that has put Americans’ safety and prosperity at risk.

The China Task Force report, to be released in full later Wednesday, makes 83 key findings and 430 policy recommendations on how the U.S. can better combat the threat of the CCP, whose malign activities have gone unchecked for too long, the GOP leaders say.

“This report is the blueprint for bipartisan actions Congress and the Administration can take now to address the greatest national and economic security challenge of this generation,” the task force report says.

REPUBLICANS UNVEIL NEW AGENDA IF THEY WIN BACK HOUSE

The recommendations include securing the medical supply chain by boosting U.S. production, allowing the Department of Defense to fund experimentation of emerging technologies to modernize the U.S. military faster and to require the Treasury Department to sanction China.

The report also calls for the U.S. to secure a bilateral free trade agreement with Taiwan, to require heightened scrutiny of Chinese investment in U.S. companies, and to cut off material support for CCP military-industrial base companies.

UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 15: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., along with House Republicans, conduct an event on the House steps of the Capitol to announce the Commitment to America, agenda on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The plan outlines ways to restore our way of life, rebuild the greatest economy in history, and renew the American dream. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

UNITED STATES – SEPTEMBER 15: House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., along with House Republicans, conduct an event on the House steps of the Capitol to announce the Commitment to America, agenda on Tuesday, September 15, 2020. The plan outlines ways to restore our way of life, rebuild the greatest economy in history, and renew the American dream. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

The China Task Force, comprised of 15 GOP members, was formed in May to assess the threat of the Chinese Community Party and come up with legislative solutions on how to combat the risks. The work