Court of Appeals sides with Alabama over challenge to minimum wage law

Court of Appeals sides with Alabama over challenge to minimum wage law
The Alabama Capitol (Source: WSFA 12 News)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of Alabama concerning a lawsuit filed against the minimum wage law.

Attorney General Steve Marshall announced the ruling Friday that states plaintiffs challenging the Alabama Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act lacked standing to file their racial discrimination claim against the Attorney General.

"I am pleased with the 11th Circuit's ruling today, which agreed with the State of Alabama that the plaintiffs had no standing to sue the Attorney General over their complaints about Alabama's minimum wage law," said Attorney General Marshall.

In 2016, the Alabama Legislature passed a law that sets a uniform minimum wage for the state.

Groups including the Alabama NAACP, Greater Birmingham Ministries, the Alabama Legislative Black Caucus and others sued state officials, saying the law purposely discriminated against Birmingham's black citizens.

One of their arguments was the law was voted on by a majority-white Alabama Legislature.

The federal district court dismissed the suit, but a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit reversed, holding that plaintiffs' racial discrimination claims could move forward.

The Attorney General then asked the entire twelve-judge 11th Circuit to rehear the case, and the court agreed.

The Attorney General further argued that the case should be dismissed because plaintiffs sued the wrong defendants.

Plaintiffs alleged they had been harmed because their employers are not paying what they are entitled to under the Birmingham ordinance. But as the Attorney General argued, that dispute should be litigated between employees and employers, not between employees and the Attorney General, who cannot force employers to boost wages.

The federal appeals court decision agreed with the State of Alabama and concluded that the plaintiffs lacked standing to sue the Attorney General as a way to challenge the Act.

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