Dallas Sick Leave Ordinance Could Face Legal Challenge

Steven Pickering
July 26, 2019 - 6:20 am
dallas city hall

Photo: Steven Pickering, 1080 KRLD

DALLAS (1080 KRLD) - An ordinance requiring businesses to offer their employees paid sick leave is set to take effect in Dallas next week.

However, similar ordinances in Austin and San Antonio have faced lawsuits. The group behind those legal challenges could also challenge the Dallas ordinance.

The Dallas sick leave ordinance was approved by the City Council earlier this year. The Workers Defense Project was part of the effort to get the ordinance passed, and leaders of the group say they would not be surprised if it is challenged by a conservative group called the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

"The Austin paid sick time ordinance and the San Antonio ordinance were both met with lawsuits," said Juliet Barbara with the Workers Defense Project, "and these are from a coalition of corporate interests." San Antonio recently agreed to postpone enforcement of its ordinance. The Austin ordinance has been blocked by an appeals court, but the city is taking its case to the Texas Supreme Court.

"Essentially, the plaintiffs argue that the ordinance is unconstitutional because the Texas Minimum Wage Act says that cities can not regulate minimum wage," said Barbara. "We don't believe that wage and benefits are the same thing. If the Texas Minimum Wage act were about benefits, it would have the word 'benefits'."

The Dallas sick leave ordinance is scheduled to take effect August 1st.