July 13, 2020

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July 13, 2020

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July 10, 2020

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Texas Paid Sick Leave Update: San Antonio, Dallas, Austin

The state of city-driven efforts to pass paid sick and safe leave laws in Texas remains in flux. Those monitoring the issue will know the cities of Austin, Dallas, and San Antonio have passed paid sick and safe leave laws, with business coalitions in each city mounting legal challenges. As a result of the uncertainty caused by these legal challenges, the fate of these laws in Texas generally and in the respective cities remains an issue to watch.

Most recently, on November 22, the San Antonio paid sick and safe leave ordinance previously scheduled to go into effect on December 1, was temporarily enjoined as a result of pending litigation. That case will be set for trial to determine whether the ordinance should be enjoined permanently.

The Austin ordinance has been enjoined since November 2018, when the Austin Third Court of Appeals declared the Austin ordinance to be unconstitutional because it was preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act.

Dallas remains the only city in Texas to have a paid sick and safe leave law in effect, although that too could change any day as a result of a legal challenge pending in federal court in the Eastern District of Texas. City of Dallas has deferred enforcement of the ordinance, other than for claims of retaliation, until April 1, 2020.

The Texas Supreme Court likely will address the legality of the Austin ordinance in early-2020. Any action by the Texas Supreme Court in that case will have implications for the Dallas and San Antonio ordinances. That is because, as originally drafted, all three ordinances were substantially similar. The city of San Antonio modified its ordinance in October 2019 in several respects, including a change to define paid sick leave as a “benefit” – a move that appears intended to side step the outcome of an adverse determination from the Texas Supreme Court.

Employers with operations or employees in these large Texas cities should continue to closely monitor these issues.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2020National Law Review, Volume IX, Number 329


About this Author

Julie Farmer, Jackson Lewis Law Firm, Employment Matters Attorney

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.

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

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. 

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

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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