Alabama’s Minimum Wage Law Dispute

At the beginning of this year, the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals withdrew a July decision  regarding a lawsuit alleging that Alabama’s 2016 minimum-wage law is racially discriminatory. The lawsuit was filed by civil rights groups, minority legislators, and fast-food workers. According to a Times Daily News report, the court plans to hold a rehearing on the matter.

The Alabama law in question blocked cities from raising the minimum wage after Birmingham tried to raise the base to $10 per hour. Alabama’s law mandates a uniform minimum wage across the state. Critics of the state law claim that it is just the latest example of a majority-white legislature exerting its control over majority-black cities.Those who support the state law point to concerns about the wage hike’s impact on businesses and argue a uniform minimum wage is critical for economic development.

In 2017, a U.S. district judge dismissed the lawsuit holding that the plaintiffs had not proven the claims of discrimination and civil rights violations. The appeals court, however, found that the plaintiffs stated a plausible claim that the act had the purpose and effect of discriminating against Birmingham’s black citizens on the basis of race.

Minimum Wage Hikes Across the Nation

 Legislative efforts, as well as adjustments for inflation and ballot measures across the nation are giving workers in U.S. states an increase in the minimum wage in 2019. According to a U.S. News Report, he increases range from $0.05 to $2.00 and is due to impact 5.2 million workers. A recent Economic Policy Institute (EPI) report predicts that the minimum wage increase will raise the annual salaries of year-round workers by $90 to $1,3000. 24 cities and counties across the country will also raise their minimum wages at the start of 2019.

While the federal minimum wage has stayed stagnant at $7.25 per hour for the past decade, movements have spread across the country to increase this number at both the state and local levels. The country’s federal minimum wage standards are found in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Although many states have their own minimum wage laws, when an employee is subject to both state and federal laws, the worker is entitled to the higher of the two established minimum wages.

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