After efforts failed at the Texas Legislature this year to cancel out government-mandated paid sick leave ordinances in cities around the state, business groups are pressing ahead with legal challenges aimed at the same goal. Austin, San Antonio, and Dallas are among cities that have adopted ordinances requiring private employers to offer paid sick leave to their employees or face penalties.
Now business groups have come out en masse to support the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce in its fight with the city. The business groups are part of an umbrella organization called ASSET, the Alliance for Securing and Strengthening the Economy in Texas.
“The paid sick leave policy mandated by the city of Dallas isn’t just an overreaching job killer, it is unconstitutional,” said Annie Spilman, spokeswoman for the group. “Job creators representing almost every industry in Texas have joined together to oppose this web of red tape that affects anyone with employees in Dallas, whether or not their business is located in the city limits.”
From the amicus brief filed by the business groups:
The Dallas Paid Sick Leave Ordinance creates inconsistent regulations, confusion, and unnecessary complications for employers (including the Chamber) and employees across the Dallas region and state of Texas, which deters continued growth. The one-size-fits-all approach mandated in the Ordinance regarding the record-keeping and method of calculating paid sick leave is not practical for businesses currently operating in the region...The Chamber is also concerned that the Ordinance violates the Constitutional rights of various employers, employees and businesses. The far-reaching consequences of the Ordinance threaten economic sustainability, business attraction and growth in the Dallas region.
Here are the business groups that signed onto the suit supporting the challenge to the paid sick leave ordinance:
- American Staffing Association
- Associated Builders and Contractors of Texas
- Associated General Contractors—Texas Building Branch
- Real Estate Councils of Texas
- Texas Apartment Association
- Texas Association of Builders
- Texas Association of Business
- Texas Association of Manufacturers
- Texas Construction Association
- Texas Food and Fuel Association
- Texas Hotel and Lodging Association
- Texas Nursery and Landscape Association
- Texas Restaurant Association (The Restaurant Law Center)
- Texas Retailers Association
- Texas Society for Human Resource Management
- Texas Travel Industry Association
- Theater Owners of Mid-America
Supporters, mainly those associated with the Workers Defense Project, point out that as many as 300,000 people in Dallas do not have paid sick leave right now.
"The decisions they're having to make are very simple – you either go to work sick, or you leave a sick family member at home because you can't take the time off," said George Rangel, President of the Dallas area AFL-CIO.
Meantime, Austin City Councilman Greg Casar, who helped lead the fight to pass similar rules in the state's capital city, had praised Dallas for its move. "Dallas passes paid sick days!!! About 1 year ago, no cities in the South had guaranteed paid sick days. Now, three of Texas’ biggest cities have passed it.”
And they’re all fighting it out in court. Stay tuned.
Click here to read the full legal brief from the business groups.