The Texas Public Policy Foundation sent a notice to the Dallas city attorney office stating they plan to file a lawsuit against the city over its new paid sick leave law that will take effect on Aug. 1.
The new law would require employers to compensate employees with one hour of paid sick time for every 30 hours worked.
Opponents of the new law claim that it’s an unconstitutional end run around to Texas state law, which forbids municipalities from setting a minimum wage higher than required by the federal government.
“San Antonio, Austin, Dallas and other cities cannot be allowed to pass their own laws simply because they dislike state law or disagree with the judgment of the state’s elected representatives,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said late last week. “The Legislature established the minimum amount of compensation for workers, and the Texas Constitution prohibits local municipalities from ignoring the Legislature’s decision.”
Robert Henneke, general counsel and litigation director for the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Center for the American Future asked the city to delay their execution of its paid sick leave law until Dec. 1.
“Dallas now has the opportunity to show goodwill towards its business community by not forcing businesses to sue their city in order to obtain the same result,” Henneke wrote. “Let’s do this through agreement rather than by litigation.”
Beverly Davis, who directs Dallas’ Office of Equity and Human Rights, which is charged with enforcing the ordinance, said she hasn’t gotten any information about the letter and is unsure of whether or not it would impact the law’s implementation.
“We’re moving forward with Aug. 1,” Davis said.
City Council member Chad West said that he supports the new ordinance, but that the previous council may have made the vote too quickly.
“I think it’s morally the right thing to do as an employer … [but] I think that some of the implications of it for our small-business owners still need to be heard,” he said. “I’m going to support whatever the court does in this case. At this point, we’re just going to wait and see.”