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Franchise Association Loses Another Round In Court Over Seattle’s Minimum Wage Law

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Library of Congress
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William Kenzo Nakamura U.S. Courthouse, Seattle, Washington

The International Franchise Association has lost another round in its legal fight over Seattle’s $15 minimum wage ordinance. The association sued Seattle arguing that the law is unfair to businesses that are part of a national franchise network. Seattle requires that franchisees be counted in the large employer category and pay the higher wage more quickly than small businesses. 

The association asked for a preliminary injunction blocking that part of the law. The group lost in district court and now it lost again before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Greg Narver, chief of the civil division in the Seattle city attorney's office, argued the case.

"What the franchise association was saying was that the way franchises are treated under Seattle’s ordinance was a form of discrimination against companies that engage in interstate commerce," Narver said. "We strongly disagreed with that and the court agreed with our position.”

The franchise association said it is disappointed in the decision. 

"The ordinance is blatantly discriminatory,” and harms “hard-working franchise small business owners,” said Robert Cresanti, executive vice president of government relations and public policy for the franchise association. 

He says the decision contradicts rulings in another federal circuit court, meaning it may be something the U.S. Supreme Court should decide. 

In July 2017, Ashley Gross became KNKX's youth and education reporter after years of covering the business and labor beat. She joined the station in May 2012 and previously worked five years at WBEZ in Chicago, where she reported on business and the economy. Her work telling the human side of the mortgage crisis garnered awards from the Illinois Associated Press and the Chicago Headline Club. She's also reported for the Alaska Public Radio Network in Anchorage and for Bloomberg News in San Francisco.