With Legislature a Flop,S.A. Business Turns to Courts for Sick Leave Relief

Now that the Legislature has failed to approve legislation overturning the San Antonio city ordinance mandating private employers pay sick leave benefits to their full time employees, local businesses are turning their attention to the courts, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Richie Jackson of the Texas Restaurant Association says courts have ruled that the San Antonio ordinance, along with identical ordinances in Austin and Dallas, are unconstitutional.

"This Third Court of Appeals has enjoined the City of Austin in movign forward with their paid sick leave ordinance," Jackson said. "So it has been suspended and is on appeal to the Texas Supreme Court."

The San Antonio ordinance has not been blocked because the Third Court of Appeals does not have San Antoio in its jurisdication, but if the State Supreme Court upholds the lower court ruling, that would throw out the San Antnoio and Dallas laws as well.

The ordinances were approved on a petition drive organized by the Texas Organizing Project, which presented identical ordinances to the three city councils for their approval or a public vote. San Antonio Council approved the ordinance, because Council members were afraid that if it were placed on the ballot, voters who showed up to vote for it would also vote for the Firefighters Union's three charter amendments, which were on the same ballot.

The court ruled the ordinances are unconstitutional, because state law gives the state, not local jurisdictions, the authority to set wages and working conditions for local employers. Those laws are designed to avoid a 'patchwork' of differing laws in various cities affecting business operations.

The measure in the Legislature designed to overturn the mandatory sick leave ordinances failed, over disagreements about whether the law would also overturn 'Non Discrimination Ordinances,' local laws designed to protect LGBTQ workers from workplace discrimination.

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