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September 07, 2004
Federal Court Upholds Living Wage

In RUI One Corp. v. City of Berkeley, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court has upheld Berkeley's living wage law as constitutional. The law, enacted in 2000, requires certain city contractors and lessees to pay workers a minimum hourly wage that is higher than state and federal minimums, as well as health benefits.

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When the law was amended to cover businesses at the Berkeley marina, which the original law did not cover, the owner of a restaurant filed suit, arguing that the law violated the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause because it targeted certain businesses and not others. The restaurant also unsuccessfully claimed that imposing the new living wage requirement unconstitutionally changed the terms of its lease with the city of Berkeley.

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