We previously alerted employers of a new Dallas paid sick-leave ordinance which was scheduled to take effect on August 1, 2019. See our earlier reporting here. After a lawsuit filed on July 30, 2019, Dallas may follow other Texas cities, Austin and San Antonio, in seeing its new ordinance placed on hold.
The Texas Public Policy Foundation, an Austin-based conservative think tank, filed suit this week in the Eastern District of Texas, Sherman Division, against the City of Dallas on behalf of a staffing company and a law firm (collectively, the plaintiffs) arguing that the paid sick leave ordinance violates the United States Constitution. Specifically, the plaintiffs argued that (i) the ordinance allows "unionized workplaces to escape the mandates of the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance," which violates their constitutional rights of freedom of association and equal treatment under the law, and (ii) the ordinance violates their Fourth Amendment rights "against unreasonable searches and seizures by allowing the issuance of subpoenas with no pre-compliance judicial review."
The plaintiffs further argued that the ordinance is "unconstitutional under the Texas Constitution because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act."
The plaintiffs seek an injunction to temporarily stop the ordinance from going into effect until the court rules on the lawsuit, and ultimately the plaintiffs are asking the court to declare the ordinance unconstitutional.
As we previously reported, similar lawsuits were filed against the cities of Austin and San Antonio, both of which had adopted their own sick leave ordinances. Most recently, the City of San Antonio agreed to temporarily halt the enactment of its own paid sick leave ordinance. In November, the Third Court of Appeals blocked Austin's sick leave ordinance, ruling that "the effective result [of the ordinance] is that employees who take sick leave are paid the same wage for fewer hours worked." The court reasoned that because the ordinance establishes a wage, it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act.