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Texas Employers Take Notice: Proposed Bills For 2019

The Texas Legislature does not officially convene until Jan. 8, 2019. But during the week of Nov. 12, Texas lawmakers got off to a furious start and submitted more than 600 bills to be considered during the 2019 legislative session. In the 2017 session, Texas legislators filed more than 10,000 bills and resolutions, of which approximately 10 percent became law. If 2017 is any indication, these early submissions are only a taste of the thousands of bills sure to be filed ahead of the March 8, 2019, bill-submission deadline. Many of the bills affect the workplace and carry the potential to significantly alter the landscape for both Texas employers and their employees. As such, it is critical that employers and their lawyers keep up to date with proposed legislation so they are not ambushed by new laws that may significantly affect the workplace.

Texas Court of Appeals Rules Austin’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Unconstitutional

On November 16, 2018, the Third Court of Appeals in Austin, Texas, entered a temporary injunction blocking the implementation of the paid sick leave ordinance that the Austin City Council passed in February 2018. The court of appeals ruled that the ordinance violated the Texas Constitution because it is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act (TMWA).

Austin Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law Preempted by Texas Minimum Wage Act, Third Court of Appeals Holds

On November 16, 2018, the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals declared Austin’s paid sick and safe leave ordinance unconstitutional. Specifically, the court held the ordinance is preempted by the Texas Minimum Wage Act and is, therefore, unconstitutional.

Austin's Third Court of Appeals Holds Austin's Paid Sick Leave Ordinance Unconstitutional

Austin’s paid sick leave ordinance, which was supposed to go into effect this past October, has been held unconstitutional by the Third Court of Appeals in Austin. The court of appeals held that the ordinance establishes a “wage” and, as such, it is preempted by Texas Minimum Wage Act. The Texas Minimum Wage Act specifically precludes municipalities from regulating the wages paid by employers who are subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and specifically provides that the Texas Minimum Wage Act supersedes a “wage” established in an ordinance governing wages in private employment. The court of appeals remanded the case back to the district court, instructing the lower court to grant the State’s application for temporary injunction and for further proceedings consistent with its ruling.

Austin, Texas Earned Sick Time Ordinance on Life Support

On November 16, 2018, the Texas Third Court of Appeals delivered a significant blow to Austin's Earned Sick Time Ordinance, the first law in the Lone Star State that would have required private sector employers to provide employees with paid time off. While the measure is not completely dead, its prospects of survival have dimmed.

Austin, Texas, Paid Sick Leave Ordinance on the Ropes

A local ordinance that would have required employers operating in Austin, Texas, to provide paid sick leave to employees has been blocked.

Texas Two-Step: San Antonio Joins Austin in Mandating Paid Sick and Safe Leave; Then Court Enjoins Austin Law from Taking Effect During Appeal

On August 16, 2018, the San Antonio City Council adopted a paid sick and safe leave ordinance which, aside from minor linguistic differences, is identical to the ordinance passed earlier this year in Austin. The next day, the Texas Court of Appeals, Third District, issued an order that temporarily enjoins Austin’s ordinance from taking effect until the appeal is resolved. This article first discusses the Austin appeal and the impact it—or anticipated state legislative action—could have, including on San Antonio’s ordinance. The article then outlines what employers with San Antonio operations need to know about the new ordinance should it eventually take effect.

San Antonio Becomes Second Major Texas City to Pass Paid Sick Leave

San Antonio has become the second major Texas city to pass a paid sick leave measure, joining Austin. A petition with more than 144,000 signatures supporting paid sick leave compelled the San Antonio City Council to take action, and it passed the ordinance by a 9-2 vote.

San Antonio Mandates Paid Leave for Private Sector Employees: 14 Key Facts About the New Law

On August 16, 2018, the San Antonio City Council voted 9 to 2 to adopt a paid leave ordinance which will require all employers in San Antonio to provide paid leave to their employees. The ordinance requires employers to provide paid leave to be used for specified reasons for employees’ and their family members’ health-related issues.

Texas Court Bars Employment Claims Due to Ecclesiastical Abstention Doctrine

The ecclesiastical abstention doctrine can provide religious institutions with protection from employment-related lawsuits. Based upon the religious freedom amendments contained in the U.S. and Texas constitutions, this doctrine generally bars courts from adjudicating disputes related to the governance and operations of religious institutions. As seen in a recent decision by the Court of Appeals for the Fifth District of Texas, the ecclesiastical abstention doctrine can provide protection to seemingly ordinary employment decisions by religious entities.