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As of December 8, 2021, the Texas Workforce Commission released a letter to employers regarding Executive Order GA-40 stating that “no entity in Texas can compel receipt of a COVID-19 vaccine by any individual, including any employee or a consumer, who objects to such vaccination for any reason of personal conscience, based on a religious belief, of for medical reasons, including prior recover from COVID-19.” It’s further noted that Governor Abbott put this in place because “the Biden Administration [was] bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates, causing workplace disruptions that threaten Texas’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 disaster.” It is further noted by the TWC that “the law in Texas is clear on this point: An employer cannot impose a COVID-19 vaccine mandate on an employee who qualifies for an exemption for religious, personal, or medical reasons.” TWC states that this legislation applies to federal contractors, healthcare workers, and anyone whose employer has at least 100 employees. Employers should issue the attached form to employees who seek to file a vaccination exemption.

At the end of the letter of employers, the TWC states that “it is unlikely that a claimant will be disqualified from receiving unemployment benefits if the work separation was caused by the employee’s failure to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.”

What does this mean for employers in Texas?

Texas’s stance on vaccination mandates from employers is very straightforward, and it should be assumed by employers that if employees are required to be vaccinated in Texas, that they should also be informed that exemptions to being vaccinated are available by law. It should also be considered that separating from an employee based on refusing to be vaccinated can result in the employee collecting unemployment benefits.


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