Business groups file emergency appeal to stop Louisville minimum - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Business groups file emergency appeal to stop Louisville minimum wage from taking effect Wednesday

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The business groups challenging Louisville Metro's authority to set a local minimum wage have asked the Kentucky Court of Appeals for “emergency relief” to stop the wage ordinance from taking effect Wednesday.

In an appeal filed only hours after a Jefferson County judge upheld the wage law on Monday, the business groups say they will suffer “irreparable injury” if their members have to begin paying employees $7.75 an hour on Wednesday but the courts later find that Metro government doesn't have the power to set a minimum wage.

The groups challenging the law are the Kentucky Restaurant Association, Kentucky Retail Federation and Louisville minimum-wage employer Packaging Unlimited.

If the ordinance is not stopped, “Appellants and their members will not be able to recoup overpayments issued as a result of compliance with the ordinance” while the case continues to be litigated, according to the appeal.

On the other hand, if the court stays the ordinance and it is later upheld, “employees can easily be made whole,” according to the appeal.

“Employers routinely reconcile discrepancies between earned wages and paid wages by issuing supplemental checks,” the groups said in the appeal.

The Jefferson County Attorney's office, which is defending Metro government in court, will be responding to the emergency appeal to argue that the ordinance should take effect, said  Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the office.

The minimum wage in Jefferson County is set to rise to $7.75 per hour on Wednesday following the favorable ruling Monday by Jefferson Circuit Court Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman.

The base wage will step up to $8.25 per hour on July 1, 2016 and then to $9 per hour on July 1, 2017, with annual adjustments for inflation thereafter.

The current minimum wage in Kentucky is the same as the federal -- $7.25.

Brent Baughman, the attorney for the business groups, said Monday he would be “really surprised” if the case is not ultimately decided by the state Supreme Court.
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