AH&LA and NRA file amicus brief on Seattle wage law.
(March 24, 2016) The American Hotel & Lodging Association and the National Restaurant Association, together with other top national organizations, filed an amicus brief in March with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) case against Seattle’s wage ordinance. The original lawsuit, filed in June 2014 by the IFA and five Seattle franchisees, challenged the wage ordinance’s treatment of franchisees.
Under the Seattle law, all franchisee businesses, regardless of the number of employees, are treated as “large” employers if the franchise has more than 500 employees nationwide. As such, they must reach the $15 minimum wage at a faster pace than “small” businesses.
The IFA has not sought to block the wage law, but to overturn the part of the law it says discriminates against franchise owners by treating them as national companies. The lawsuit argued that the Seattle ordinance defies legal precedent that clearly defines a franchisee as an independent local business owner who operates separately from the corporation that provides brand and marketing materials.
In September, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court decision against IFA. IFA appealed to the Supreme Court in January.