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Judge’s Decision Halts Dallas from Enforcing Paid Sick Leave Ordinance

Texas employers no longer must provide paid sick leave to their employees in Dallas following the decision of U.S. District Court Judge Sean D. Jordan. ESI/Employee Solutions LP et al. v. City of Dallas et al., No. 4:19-cv-00570 (E.D. Tex. Mar. 30, 2020). The decision was released two days before enforcement of the Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance would have commenced.

In the federal lawsuit challenging the legality of the Ordinance, the court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for preliminary injunction, prohibiting the enforcement of the Ordinance against businesses pending resolution of the litigation. Concurrently, the court’s order also denied, in substantial part, the City of Dallas’ separate motion to dismiss the case.

The Ordinance went into effect on August 1, 2019, for employers with at least six employees, but the city delayed enforcement, except for violations of the anti-retaliation provision, until April 1, 2020. (For details of the Ordinance, see our article, Paid Sick Leave in Dallas and San Antonio Effective August 1.)

In granting the temporary injunction, Judge Jordan held that the plaintiffs established a substantial likelihood of success on their claim that the Ordinance is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act and, therefore, unenforceable under the Texas Constitution.

Judge Jordan acknowledged that the decision “issues at a time when the American public and federal, state, and local authorities are confronted with the unprecedented public health crisis and economic upheaval caused by Coronavirus Disease 2019 (“COVID-19”).” But, he concluded, under Texas law, the public policy issue of whether the government should impose paid sick leave requirements on private employers is a decision for the Texas legislature.

The court’s decision follows similar rulings issued in Texas state-court lawsuits challenging the paid sick leave ordinances enacted in the cities of Austin and San Antonio, both of which remain enjoined and are not currently being enforced by the cities. Paid sick leave is now on hold everywhere in Texas.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020

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About this Author

Kristin L. Bauer, Jackson Lewis, employment agreements lawyer, non solicitation issues attorney
Principal

Kristin L. Bauer is a Principal in the Dallas, Texas, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management exclusively in workplace law and related litigation.

In addition to handling an active employment litigation docket, Ms. Bauer counsels management on preventive strategies, including termination decisions, investigations, employment agreements, non-compete and non-solicitation issues, wage and hour laws, policies and handbooks, and other issues affecting the workplace. She also provides advice and counsel to...

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Katrin Schatz, Employment Attorney, Litigation, Arbitration, Jackson Lewis Law Firm
Principal

Katrin Schatz represents management in all major areas of labor and employment law.  In her more than 13 years of practice, Ms. Schatz has defended employers nationwide in court, arbitrations and administrative proceedings in a broad range of employment matters, including class, collective and multi-plaintiff actions.  She has handled cases involving claims of age, race, disability and gender discrimination, wrongful discharge, whistleblower retaliation, wage and hour and ERISA violations, as well as disputes arising out of covenants not to compete, corporate trade secrets, officer and director fiduciary duties and executive employment contracts.  She also represents clients in connection with claims under the public accommodations provisions of the ADA. 

972-728-3266
Julie Farmer, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Employment Matters Attorney
Associate

Julie A. Farmer is an Associate in the Dallas office of Jackson Lewis P.C. She represents management in employment matters in state and federal court and before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

While attending law school, Ms. Farmer served as Comment Editor for the Texas Tech Law Review.

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