Temple Law student Jody López-Jacobs ’15 has taken second-place
honors in a national writing competition sponsored by the ABA
Section on Labor and Employment Law and the College of Labor and
Employment Lawyers for his article, Who Owns the Tips?.

The article, which arose from research assigned to Jody at the
law firm where he worked last spring, argues for the validity of a
2011 Department of Labor regulation that identifies tips as the
property of the tipped employee, even if the employer does not
avail itself of a “tip credit.”  “For example,” Jody
explains,” under this new regulation, an employer who pays a tipped
employee the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour would be
prohibited from keeping the tips for itself.”

A number of courts have said that the regulation is invalid
because it is inconsistent with a federal statute–the Fair Labor
Standards Act. Jody’s article is the first to fully articulate the
argument that “the DOL regulation is valid and entitled to Chevron
deference because the Fair Labor Standards Act is silent as to tip
ownership when the employer does not use the tip credit,” he

Jody’s passion for employee rights has led him to work in labor
law firms both before and during law school, and he is currently
exploring it through a clinical course at the Sheller Center for
Social Justice.  He plans to continue his work in the field
following law school.