Alabama minimum wage discrimination case revived by US Appeals Court Alabama minimum wage discrimination case revived by US Appeals Court

Alabama minimum wage discrimination case revived by US Appeals Court
01 Aug 2018

A US Federal Appeals Court has revived a court case alleging that Alabama discriminated against black residents by passing a law that prevented its cities from increasing the minimum wage.

Alabama's largest cities, including Birmingham and Montgomery, are majority-black, while the state as a whole is around 60% white, according to The Hill.

The case centres on the introduction of a state law in 2016 - just one day before Birmingham was set to raise its minimum wage to US$10.00 - which barred local governments from mandating pay rises.

Defendants, which include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and low-wage workers in the state, claim the law intentionally targeted black workers. Though a lower court judge originally threw out the case, the Atlanta US Court of Appeals has now taken it on.

The judges ruled that the law “immediately denied a significant wage increase to roughly 40,000 Birmingham residents, the vast majority of whom were black”.

Antoin Adams, a plaintiff in the suit, told Bloomberg that such a pay rise would be significant to workers in Alabama.

"We fought hard to win our pay raise, and Birmingham workers deserve to have our day in court to show that the state of Alabama was wrong to take away our raise," he said. "We’re not going to let a handful of rich, white lawmakers steal away our shot at getting out of poverty."

In recent years, states and local jurisdictions across the country have raised the minimum wage to US$15 as part of the "Fight for 15" movement, even though Congress has not approved an increase in the national minimum wage since 2007.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

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A US Federal Appeals Court has revived a court case alleging that Alabama discriminated against black residents by passing a law that prevented its cities from increasing the minimum wage.

Alabama's largest cities, including Birmingham and Montgomery, are majority-black, while the state as a whole is around 60% white, according to The Hill.

The case centres on the introduction of a state law in 2016 - just one day before Birmingham was set to raise its minimum wage to US$10.00 - which barred local governments from mandating pay rises.

Defendants, which include the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and low-wage workers in the state, claim the law intentionally targeted black workers. Though a lower court judge originally threw out the case, the Atlanta US Court of Appeals has now taken it on.

The judges ruled that the law “immediately denied a significant wage increase to roughly 40,000 Birmingham residents, the vast majority of whom were black”.

Antoin Adams, a plaintiff in the suit, told Bloomberg that such a pay rise would be significant to workers in Alabama.

"We fought hard to win our pay raise, and Birmingham workers deserve to have our day in court to show that the state of Alabama was wrong to take away our raise," he said. "We’re not going to let a handful of rich, white lawmakers steal away our shot at getting out of poverty."

In recent years, states and local jurisdictions across the country have raised the minimum wage to US$15 as part of the "Fight for 15" movement, even though Congress has not approved an increase in the national minimum wage since 2007.

 Emma Woollacott

Emma Woollacott is a freelance business journalist. Her work has appeared in a wide range of publications, including the Guardian, the Times, Forbes and the BBC.

OTHER ARTICLES THAT MAY INTEREST YOU

US states consider payroll deduction-based pension plans
New York Governor’s payroll tax proposals could have “unintended consequences”
Coalition of US states to sue federal government over tax reform

 

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