Pending Paid Sick Leave Litigation Recap

Yesterday’s post about the Linn County, Oregon decision prompts me to recap other pending PSL litigation.  Two cases deal with direct challenges to a PSL law while a third is PSL-related.

  • Minnesota Chamber of Commerce v. City of Minneapolis (Hennepin County District Court). The plaintiffs allege that the Minneapolis Earned Safe and Sick Time Ordinance “conflicts with and is preempted by state law” and if allowed to stand would “create an unworkable patchwork” of local laws in and around Minneapolis and in Minnesota. The court held oral argument on December 8, 2016. According to one report of that argument, the judge seemed particularly interested in an issue not raised by either party—whether Minneapolis had the authority to require businesses not located in Minneapolis, even foreign employers, to provide leave to their employees who spend as little as one and one-half hours per week in Minneapolis.  The judge asked the parties to submit briefs on that issue, according to the report.


  • Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Ass’n  v. City of Pittsburgh (Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania). In September 2015, an industry association and others sued to enjoin the city’s recently-enacted PSL law, arguing that Pittsburgh did not have authority to enact such an ordinance. In December 2015, a judge of the Allegheny County Court of Common Pleas agreed with the plaintiffs and invalidated the ordinance.  The city and a union have appealed. Last month, the appellate court heard oral argument on the appeal. The next step is for the court to issue its decision.

  • Alabama NAACP  v. State of Alabama (federal district court in Alabama). In February, 2016, Alabama enacted the Uniform Minimum Wage and Right-to-Work Act (HB 174), which prohibited local governments from requiring employers to provide their employees with wages or benefits, including paid or unpaid leave, not required by state or federal law. This law negated a City of Birmingham ordinance increasing the minimum wage. Plaintiffs allege that HB 174 was motivated by “racial animus” and violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution and the federal Voting Rights Act. While this lawsuit deals specifically with the Birmingham minimum wage law, the outcome will likely determine whether Alabama remains a PSL preemption state.

Stay tuned. I suspect more lawsuits will be coming.