AUSTIN—Today, the Texas Public Policy Foundation filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of ESI/Employee Solutions, LP and Hagan Law Group LLC against the City of Dallas in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas. The TPPF lawsuit alleges that the City’s Ordinance violates Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights of First Amendment freedom of association, Fourteenth Amendment equal protection, and Fourth Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure. TPPF’s lawsuit also asserts the state law preemption claim that prevailed over the Austin Ordinance.

Although the plaintiffs in the case are headquartered in Collin County, Texas, the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance injures the plaintiffs because both have employees that work in Dallas enough to earn leave but who also work outside of Dallas. Because the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance requires employers to allow employees to use earned leave at any other “facility, location, division, or job position with the same employer,” Dallas’ ordinance extends regulatory power outside of its city limits to violate Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights.

“Today’s lawsuit should not have been necessary. Texas courts have already found municipal ordinances mandating paid sick leave unconstitutional,” said Robert Henneke, general counsel and litigation director at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. “The Dallas Ordinance discriminates against Plaintiffs for being at-will employers, and threatens Plaintiffs with unconstitutional warrantless searches. Given the constitutional defects of such mandates, the leadership of San Antonio did the right thing and agreed to pause the implementation of its own paid sick leave ordinance. If only Dallas had the foresight to work with the business community, we wouldn’t be in court today. But the numerous constitutional problems with Dallas’ ordinance demand a remedy – we aim to help provide it.”

The Texas Public Policy Foundation is seeking a preliminary injunction to halt the ordinance’s operation until a ruling on the merits of the case, a declaratory judgement that the ordinance is unconstitutional, and a permanent injunction. On August 22, TPPF sent Dallas a letter requesting that the City delay its Ordinance until December, as was recently agreed by San Antonio. Dallas declined this request.

Click here for a copy of TPPF’s Complaint: https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2019/07/30115022/001-Verified-Complaint-for-Declaratory-Injunctive-Relief.pdf

Preliminary Injunction Motion: https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2019/07/30115125/003-Motion-for-Preliminary-Injuction.pdf

Click here for a copy of TPPF’s demand letter: https://files.texaspolicy.com/uploads/2019/07/30121551/Letter-to-Dallas-City-Atty-07-22-19.pdf