The Ohio Fair Minimum Wage Amendment

Be it Resolved by the People of the State of Ohio that Article II, Section 34a of the Ohio Constitution is hereby enacted as follows:

ARTICLE II, Section 34a

Except as provided in this section, every employer shall pay their employees a wage rateof not less than six dollars and eighty-five cents per hour beginning January 1, 2007. On the thirtieth day of each September, beginning in 2007, this state minimum wage rateshall be increased effective the first day of the following January by the rate of inflationfor the twelve month period prior to that September according to the consumer priceindex or its successor index for all urban wage earners and clerical workers for all itemsas calculated by the federal government rounded to the nearest five cents. Employeesunder the age of sixteen and employees of businesses with annual gross receipts of twohundred fifty thousand dollars or less for the preceding calendar year shall be paid a wagerate of not less than that established under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or its successor law. This gross revenue figure shall be increased each year beginning January1, 2008 by the change in the consumer price index or its successor index in the samemanner as the required annual adjustment in the minimum wage rate set forth aboverounded to the nearest one thousand dollars. An employer may pay an employee lessthan, but not less than half, the minimum wage rate required by this section if theemployer is able to demonstrate that the employee receives tips that combined with thewages paid by the employer are equal to or greater than the minimum wage rate for allhours worked. The provisions of this section shall not apply to employees of a solelyfamily owned and operated business who are family members of an owner. The state mayissue licenses to employers authorizing payment of a wage rate below that required bythis section to individuals with mental or physical disabilities that may otherwiseadversely affect their opportunity for employment.

As used in this section: ĺ─˙employer,ĺ─¨ ĺ─˙employee,ĺ─¨ ĺ─˙employ,ĺ─¨ ĺ─˙personĺ─¨ and ĺ─˙independentcontractorĺ─¨ have the same meanings as under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act or itssuccessor law, except that ĺ─˙employerĺ─¨ shall also include the state and every politicalsubdivision and ĺ─˙employeeĺ─¨ shall not include an individual employed in or about theproperty of the employer or individualĺ─˘s residence on a casual basis. Only the exemptionsset forth in this section shall apply to this section.

An employer shall at the time of hire provide an employee the employerĺ─˘s name, address,telephone number, and other contact information and update such information when itchanges. An employer shall maintain a record of the name, address, occupation, pay rate,hours worked for each day worked and each amount paid an employee for a period of notless than three years following the last date the employee was employed. Suchinformation shall be provided without charge to an employee or person acting on behalfof an employee upon request. An employee, person acting on behalf of one or more employees and/or any other interested party may file a complaint with the state for aviolation of any provision of this section or any law or regulation implementing itsprovisions. Such complaint shall be promptly investigated and resolved by the state. Theemployeeĺ─˘s name shall be kept confidential unless disclosure is necessary to resolution ofa complaint and the employee consents to disclosure. The state may on its own initiativeinvestigate an employerĺ─˘s compliance with this section and any law or regulationimplementing its provisions. The employer shall make available to the state any recordsrelated to such investigation and other information required for enforcement of thissection or any law or regulation implementing its provisions. No employer shalldischarge or in any other manner discriminate or retaliate against an employee forexercising any right under this section or any law or regulation implementing itsprovisions or against any person for providing assistance to an employee or informationregarding the same.

An action for equitable and monetary relief may be brought against an employer by theattorney general and/or an employee or person acting on behalf of an employee or allsimilarly situated employees in any court of competent jurisdiction, including thecommon pleas court of an employeeĺ─˘s county of residence, for any violation of thissection or any law or regulation implementing its provisions within three years of theviolation or of when the violation ceased if it was of a continuing nature, or within oneyear after notification to the employee of final disposition by the state of a complaint forthe same violation, whichever is later. There shall be no exhaustion requirement, noprocedural, pleading or burden of proof requirements beyond those that apply generallyto civil suits in order to maintain such action and no liability for costs or attorneyĺ─˘s feeson an employee except upon a finding that such action was frivolous in accordance withthe same standards that apply generally in civil suits. Where an employer is found by thestate or a court to have violated any provision of this section, the employer shall withinthirty days of the finding pay the employee back wages, damages, and the employeeĺ─˘scosts and reasonable attorneyĺ─˘s fees. Damages shall be calculated as an additional twotimes the amount of the back wages and in the case of a violation of an anti-retaliationprovision an amount set by the state or court sufficient to compensate the employee anddeter future violations, but not less than one hundred fifty dollars for each day that theviolation continued. Payment under this paragraph shall not be stayed pending anyappeal.

This section shall be liberally construed in favor of its purposes. Laws may be passed toimplement its provisions and create additional remedies, increase the minimum wage rateand extend the coverage of the section, but in no manner restricting any provision of thesection or the power of municipalities under Article XVIII of this constitution withrespect to the same.

If any part of this section is held invalid, the remainder of the section shall not be affectedby such holding and shall continue in full force and effect.