SeaTac New Pay Ordinance causes lawsuit.

SeaTac’s New Pay Ordinance Tested in Business Lawsuit

On January 1st , 2014, SeaTac in Washington State passed a new pay ordinance raising the minimum wage to $15. This hasn’t been a problem for businesses in the area so far, until this past March. Airport parking company, Extra Car, failed to raise their employee’s wages to the new $15 minimum, which caused employee Lou Lehman to file a business lawsuit against Extra Car with a Seattle business attorney, Martin Garfinkel, of Schroeter Goldmark & Bender.

Plaintiff Complaints in Business Lawsuit

Garfinkel says approximately 40 employees did not received their full wages since January 1st. The suit claims class-action status, and is asking for back pay as well as interest and double the wages owed in damages. Their Seattle business attorney claims the denial of wages is unfair to the employees and not adhering to the new ordinance is unfair to competitors.

The SeaTac City Manager, Todd Cutts, issued a letter to the owner of Extra Car advising him to reread the new pay ordinance. The letter, however, also states that “the City of SeaTac has not investigated this complaint and therefore is not currently planning any further action.” Now, Cutts and the rest of his staff, contacted owner Michael Vergillo again in order to obtain information letting them know if Extra Car is included in the new ordinance or if they’re violating it. The team is currently waiting on this information before moving forward.

Extra Car Remains Unwilling to Raise Minimum Wage

So far, there is no word from Extra Car outside of the letters sent from the city manager. The owner reportedly showed up at a protest outside the car lot, but left soon after without offering any comments. Right now, the company is operating under the belief that the ordinance doesn’t apply to them. This is even if the ordinance states any airport car lot in the city with more than 100 car spaces and 25 non-managerial employees must comply.

Enforcing compliance, however, doesn’t seem to be working because there are no extra resources for enforcement. This was an issue when the new pay ordinance was passed in January. Though enforcement would be nice, says Heather Weiner, a spokeswoman for pro-Proposition 1 group Yes! for SeaTac, relying on private business lawyers in Seattle is a better option for employees because they’re more motivated than city enforcement would be.

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