Trump-appointed judge blocks Dallas paid sick leave ordinance

by | Mar 31, 2020 | Economy, Policy

In a blow to vulnerable workers during the pandemic, a Trump-appointed federal judge issued an injunction on Monday blocking a paid sick leave ordinance in Dallas days before it was supposed to go in effect.

“Whether or not paid sick leave requirements should be imposed by government on private employers is an important public policy issue, made even more significant under the challenging circumstances faced by our nation at this moment,” U.S. District Judge Sean Jordan wrote in his opinion and order. “The state of Texas, through its constitutional structure and statutory law, has committed that public policy decision to the Texas Legislature.”

The decision has caused outrage among labor activists who say paid sick leave is an essential right, especially during a pandemic.

Attorney General Ken Paxton joined the lawsuit challenging the Dallas ordinance last year. It’s the third major Texas city to have their local paid sick leave laws trampled on by Paxton; Austin and San Antonio are also facing similar court challenges. Houston has yet to pass any paid sick leave ordinance. 

While the injunction is no doubt a setback for labor rights, Texas workers will see partial relief from legislation passed by Congress earlier this month guaranteeing some workers paid sick leave. Unfortunately, the newly passed relief bill leaves out a large share of the American workforce from having paid sick because it exempts businesses with more than 500 employees.

In Texas, 40 percent of Texas workers or about 4.3 million workers, don’t have paid sick leave.

Photo: Dan Tian/Xinhua via Getty Images | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at

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