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Lawsuit challenges Seattle's highest-in-nation $15 minimum wage as unfair to franchises

A new federal lawsuit is challenging Seattle's adoption of the nation's highest minimum wage as unfair to small franchises.

The Seattle City Council voted this month to gradually raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour. The plan gives businesses with more than 500 employees nationally at least three years to phase in the increase. Smaller employers get seven years.

In a lawsuit Wednesday, the Washington, D.C.-based International Franchise Association said the law is unfair to small franchises.

For example, it says an independently owned Holiday Inn Express in Seattle with 28 workers is considered a "large" business under the law, because Holiday Inn franchises nationally have more than 500 workers. Meanwhile, other Seattle companies with up to 500 workers are considered "small" and given extra time to adopt the wage.

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