Judge Limits Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance

01/30/2017 / Alexander Beeby

The Minneapolis sick and safe time ordinance will only apply to Minneapolis businesses – for now. Authors of the ordinance had previously intended to create requirements applying to businesses regardless of their location. On January 19, a Hennepin County Judge granted a temporary injunction that limited the new sick and safe time ordinance to Minneapolis businesses. The judge’s order temporarily prevents the ordinance from going into effect for businesses based outside of the city. However, the delay does not affect the July 1, 2017 implementation of the ordinance for businesses based inside the city. 

For more information about the Minneapolis and St. Paul ordinances, please view our previous articles:

The Minneapolis ordinance requires all businesses to provide certain sick and safe time benefits to employees who work at least 80 hours within the city. A group led by the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce brought a lawsuit challenging the ordinance. The group also asked the Hennepin County judge to block enforcement of the ordinance until the court’s final ruling after trial. The court partially granted this request to block enforcement. Specifically, the court prohibited Minneapolis from enforcing the ordinance against employers based outside Minneapolis. The court denied the request to prohibit Minneapolis from otherwise enforcing the ordinance. 

The court’s ruling provides insight into its prediction regarding the case’s ultimate outcome. The court concluded that state law likely did not preempt the ordinance. However, the court also concluded that Minneapolis exceeded its authority in implementing an ordinance that impacted businesses based outside the city. Rather than invalidating the ordinance in its entirety, the court determined that Minneapolis’ authority merely restricted the city’s ability to enforce the ordinance.

The Thursday ruling does not apply to St. Paul’s ordinance. Duluth is also considering adopting a similar ordinance. The court could further limit or permit Minneapolis’ enforcement of the ordinance as the case progresses.