Minneapolis Minimum Wage Law Upheld

On January 22, the Minnesota Supreme Court upheld Minneapolis’ new $15 an hour minimum wage ordinance.

The decision follows a three-year legal fight. The manufacturing and supplies company, Graco Inc., sued in 2017 to try to block the $15 wage from taking effect — See Graco, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, No. A18-0593, 2020 WL 356249 (Minn. Jan. 22, 2020). The main issue in this case was whether the Minnesota Fair Labor Standards Act (MFLSA) preempts the minimum wage ordinance. The Court found that it did not.

The Court reasoned that because the legislature stated plainly in the MFLSA that employers “must” pay “at least” the minimum hourly rate provided by the statute, the legislature clearly contemplated the possibility of higher hourly rates. In addition, the court noted that the MFLSA requires that all Minnesota employers must pay each employee wages “at a rate of at least” the statutory amount. Minn. Stat. § 177.24, subd. 1(b)(1)–(2). From this language, the Court found that it is clear that the MFLSA establishes a minimum-wage floor for employers across the state. Hence, this floor leaves room for municipalities to regulate above. Accordingly, the Court held that the MFLSA does not so fully occupy the field of minimum-wage rates that it is solely a matter of state concern.

Read a detailed account of Minneapolis’ and St. Paul’s minimum wage ordinance, including: 1) timeline; 2) applicability; 3) any other compliance requirements; 4) special considerations for restaurants; 5) a summary of Graco, Inc. v. City of Minneapolis, No. A18-0593, 2020 WL 356249 (Minn. Jan. 22, 2020); and 6) cities considering similar ordinances.

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