Texas AG Joins Lawsuit Against Dallas Sick Leave Policy

Alan Scaia
August 07, 2019 - 2:01 pm
Dallas Sick Leave

Alan Scaia

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DALLAS (KRLD) - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the state will join a lawsuit against the sick leave policy in Dallas. The policy took effect August 1 and requires businesses to give employees and paid interns who work at least 80 hours per year one hour of sick leave for every 30 hours they work.

Supporters of the policy held a celebration Wednesday morning outside Dallas City Hall.

"Peace of mind, that is huge to me, an employer not being able to retaliate," says Hector Amaya, a member of Texas Organizing Project.

Two businesses sued. They say the city's policy violates their freedom of association and letting the city subpoena businesses' records to investigate complaints amounts to an unreasonable search. Wednesday morning, Attorney General Ken Paxton said the state would join the lawsuit in support of the businesses.

"The Dallas City Council’s decision to enact this ordinance in the face of other legal challenges successfully stopping similar laws is yet another example of the lawlessness and disregard for working Texans that is becoming all too common among local governments in our larger cities. Not only would this ordinance harm the ability of Texans to find and keep jobs, it is a blatant attempt to silence the millions of other voters throughout our State who disagree with the agenda of urban elites, even after the courts have made it clear they cannot do so.” Paxton wrote in a statement.

Courts challenges have stopped Austin and San Antonio from enforcing sick leave ordinances.​

An appeals court ruled Austin's rule unconstitutional in November. The city has appealed to the Texas Supreme Court.

San Antonio delayed its policy until December 1 as a challenge works through court there.

Sean Goldhammer, a lawyer with the Workers Defense Action Fund, says he has confidence Dallas' policy will survive the challenge.

"This ordinance is about public health, and it's about the wellness of the city," he says.

The city attorney will brief the council during a meeting Wednesday.

While Dallas' ordinance took effect August 1, the city will not fine any businesses until April 1, 2020.