A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived a court case that alleges Alabama, a majority-white state, discriminated against its black residents by passing a law that prevented raising the minimum wage in cities, Bloomberg reported.
Alabama's largest cities, including Birmingham and Montgomery, are majority-black, while the state is around 60 percent white. A state law in 2016 barred local governments from mandating pay raises one day befor Birmingham was slated to enact an ordinance that raised the minimum wage to $10.00.
Defendants in the lawsuit, which include the NAACP and low-wage workers in the state, claim the law intentionally targeted black workers. Though a lower court judge threw out the case, the Atlanta U.S. Court of Appeals on Wednesday took it on.
The judges wrote that the law "immediately denied a significant wage increase to roughly 40,000 Birmingham residents, the vast majority of whom were black."
Antoin Adams, a plaintiff in the suit, told Bloomberg that he hopes to prove that the pay raise was significant to workers in Alabama.
"We fought hard to win our pay raise, and Birmingham workers deserve to have our day in court to show that the state of Alabama was wrong to take away our raise,” Adams said, according to Bloomberg. “We’re not going to let a handful of rich white lawmakers steal away our shot at getting out of poverty.”
States and local jurisdictions across the country in recent years have raised the minimum wage to $15 as part of the "Fight for 15" movement, but Congress has not approved an increase in the national minimum wage since 2007.