Federal Judge Enjoins City of Dallas' Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Set To Be Enforced on April 1

Date   Mar 31, 2020

As many employers across the country are gearing up for the April 1 effective date of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act leave provisions, employers of Dallas employees were also concerned about how the City of Dallas’ Paid Sick Leave Ordinance’s April 1 enforcement date would impact them. The ordinance has been in federal litigation in the Eastern District of Texas. On March 30, 2020, United States District Judge Sean Jordan granted the Plaintiffs’ preliminary injunction and enjoined the City of Dallas or anyone “in active concert” with the City from enforcing the ordinance against any business or entity pending the resolution of lawsuit.

In his 61- page opinion, most of which dealt with a standing issue brought by the City, Judge Jordan agreed with Texas’ Third Court of Appeals’ decision on the city of Austin’s nearly identical paid sick leave ordinance that Texas’ Minimum Wage Act preempts these types of local ordinances and renders them unenforceable. U.S. District Judge Jordan recognized the COVID-19 crisis but acknowledged that it was the federal judiciary’s responsibility to interpret and follow the law which the state legislature had created. As Judge Jordan held, “The Court’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction upholds the state constitution and statutory provisions preempting and rendering unenforceable the City’s paid sick leave ordinance.”

If you have any questions about this decision or other labor or employment issues, please contact the author of this Alert, Rachel Z. Ullrich,, a partner in our Dallas office. Of course, you may also contact the FordHarrison attorney with whom you usually work.

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