Does the Minneapolis City Council Have Authority To Pass the Working Families Agenda?
Maybe not – it is possible that at least some aspects of the proposed Working Families Agenda are preempted by state law under the doctrine of conflict preemption.
Under the doctrine of conflict preemption, an ordinance enacted by a municipality is invalid if the terms of the ordinance and a state statute are irreconcilable. The Minnesota Supreme Court has held that an ordinance does not conflict with state law if it is “merely additional and complementary to or in aid or furtherance of the statute.” However, the Court has also held that an ordinance that adds a requirement that is not included in the statute is invalid, stating that “a municipality may not prohibit by ordinance conduct that is not prohibited by statute.” State v. Kuhlman, 729 N.W.2d 577, 580–82 (Minn. 2007).
In one recent case, the Minnesota Court of Appeals held that a boating ordinance that required running lights to be located “in the forward section of the watercraft” conflicted with a state rule that required a boat to have running lights, but did not specify that they must be located on the front of the boat. In that case, the court held that the ordinance was preempted because it prohibited conduct that was not prohibited by the rule. State v. Anderson, No. A15-0315 (Minn. Ct. App. Sep. 14, 2015).
Elements of the proposed Working Families Agenda arguably conflict with state law because they prohibit conduct that is not prohibited by statute. For example, the paid sick leave requirements of the proposed ordinance impose substantial requirements beyond the Minnesota statute governing sick leave benefits, which regulates but does not require paid sick leave. See Minn. Stat. § 181.9413. It also arguably conflicts with the state minimum wage law. The minimum wage law prohibits employers from paying non-exempt employees less than the minimum wage for each hour of work performed, but the proposed ordinance also requires payment of an additional one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours of work performed. Depending on when the work was scheduled, the employer may also be required to pay predictability pay to the employee in addition to the minimum wage.
The fair scheduling requirements of the Working Families Agenda also arguably conflict with state law. For example, Minnesota overtime law currently requires payment of time-and-a-half for any hours worked by a non-exempt employee in excess of 48 hours per week. The proposed ordinance, however, would mandate that employers also pay time-and-a-half for any hours worked by any employee in excess of 8 hours per day as well as time-and-a-half for any shifts without at least 11 hours of rest in between the shifts.
Takeaway: Although there are some differences between the traffic and boating ordinances at issue in the Kuhlman and Anderson cases and the state’s employment laws, there is at least an argument that portions of the Working Families Agenda conflict with state law by prohibiting conduct that is not prohibited by statute.
Posted on October 12, 2015, in Public Interest, Wage and Hour and tagged MCW. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Does the Minneapolis City Council Have Authority To Pass the Working Families Agenda?.