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Opposition to Alleged Seattle City Discrimination of Franchisees Continues

There are no two ways about it: minimum wage increase has always been and likely will always be a polarized topic. Whether speaking to the employees or franchise business operators of food and restaurant service companies, the affects of increased minimum wages are listed as diverse and numerous.

At present, the spotlight shines bright on the city of Seattle, with the City Council having approved less than a year ago a gradual uptick in wages for employees set to go into effect April 1. The increase set to initially climb based on the number of employees and employee benefits, with future inflation also intended to alter the calculation of future wages, has been hotly debated from all angles by politicians, franchise industry representatives, namely the IFA, the workers themselves and small business operators, to name a few.

Having moved for a preliminary injunction filed late last summer that calls attention to potential discrimination of small franchise businesses within the Seattle City Council Ordinance used as the basis for the wage hike, the IFA and onlookers now await a ruling on the motion presented March 10th, 2015 that will likely occur by the end of next week.

The IFA holds firm that regardless of the pending ruling on the injunction, a lawsuit directed against the provisions of the ordinance, as they affect franchisees, will continue.

A noteworthy clarification on the IFA’s move for a preliminary injunction: in calling attention to alleged discrimination of small franchise businesses within certain parts of Seattle’s latest ordinance, if the injunction is granted, small franchise businesses operating in Seattle will still be required to adopt the $15 minimum wage increase, though the gradation schedule currently dictating what small franchise businesses will pay employees over the course of some years would change.

Currently, schedules set up through the ordinance that dictate how employees will be paid deem small franchise businesses to be “large employers” as they are part of a nationwide franchise system that maintains 500+ employees. This, in effect, is labeled by the IFA as a discriminatory stance, held by parts of Seattle City’s latest ordinance, against interstate commerce thought to hold a bias that unfairly targets small franchise businesses that are independently operated but part of a larger national network.    

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