Businesses sue over minimum wage amendment, mandate to provide health care to pay lower rate

A group of Nevada businesses, including slot bar giant Dotty's and Tilman Fertitta (whose family hates Dotty's), has sued Gov. Brian Sandoval, asking that the minimum wage amendment to the state Constitution be thrown out.

The complaint from these strange bedfellows, which is below, asserts that the amendment, which raised the minimum wage to $8.25 for businesses that don't pay health care benefits and $7.25 for those that do, was passed twice with nearly 70 percent of the vote in 2004 and 2006.

The lawsuit is a reaction to complaints filed against the companies that allege they have been circumventing the constitutional requirements imposed by more than two-thirds of the electorate in the last decade. The suit also names the labor commissioner, who is alleged to have gone too far in stipulating through regulations what kind of health insurance must be provided to low-income employees. 

The lawsuit alleges that the health plans illegally impinge on health coverage mandated by ERISA -- the Employee Retirement and Income Security Act of 1974 that governs employer health plans. The complaint says the labor commissioner went beyond the statutes and that the minimum wage amendment and subsequent regulations impose requirements on employers that are pre-empted by ERISA.

The suit also claims the requirements violate the interstate commerce and due process clauses of the federal Constitution. To wit: "The Regulations do not give fair notice to a person of ordinary intelligence to understand what conduct is required or prohibited."

show_temp (1) by Jon Ralston