Hertz, Thrifty to Pay $2 Million to Settle Local Minimum Wage Complaints

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Legal Editor

September 13, 2017

Car rental companies Hertz and DTG Operations Inc. (which operates many of its stores under the brand name Thrifty) have agreed to pay nearly $2 million to settle claims filed by 157 of their workers seeking back wages under the minimum wage ordinance in SeaTac, Washington.

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries said the agreement is one of the largest in its recent history. By comparison, the agency restored about $2.8 million total to workers during all of 2016.

After the SeaTac ordinance was passed in 2013, several businesses - including Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association - challenged the ordinance in court. In December 2013, just before the ordinance took effect on January 1, 2014, a lower court ruled that the ordinance did not apply to employers and employees conducting business at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. However, in 2015, the Supreme Court of Washington upheld the ordinance and ruled it could be enforced at the airport. The agreement covers the period between when the ordinance took effect and the high court's ruling.

SeaTac's minimum wage ordinance is one of three dozen local minimum wage laws across the nation. Statistics collected by XpertHR suggest that these ordinances are not being enforced consistently.