December 6, 2021

Volume XI, Number 340

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December 03, 2021

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Texas’ Third Special Legislative Session Ends Without Any Expansion of Governor Abbott’s “Vaccine Mandate Ban” Executive Order

Texas’ Third Special Session ended on October 19, 2021, without the Texas Legislature codifying any law related to Governing Abbott’s recent Executive Order (GA-40), which prohibits entities (including private employers and businesses) from compelling COVID-19 vaccinations. Polsinelli’s summary of this Executive Order can be read here. Absent Texas’ Governor Abbott calling a Fourth Special Session, the Texas Legislature will not reconvene until January 2023—meaning the substance of the Executive Order is unlikely to become state law.

The lack of any legislative movement on this issue is noteworthy because Governor Abbott had called on the Texas Legislature to take up this matter—which was introduced as Senate Bill 51 (“SB 51”)—during the Third Special Session. SB 51 was aimed at protecting certain individuals, including employees, from varying levels of vaccine mandates. In going one step further, SB 51 would have made it unlawful if an employer fails to hire, discharges, “or otherwise discriminates against an individual with respect to the compensation or the terms, conditions or privileges of employment because the individual claims an exemption” such as a medical condition or reasons of conscience, including a religious belief.

While the Texas Legislature’s refusal to advance this bill does not impact the enforceability of this Executive Order (which remains in place), it does signal that the Texas Legislature does not have an appetite for codifying additional restrictions on what private businesses may mandate with their employees. Once OSHA’s forthcoming Emergency Temporary Standard is issued (which will require covered employers to mandate vaccination or weekly testing with their employees), this may change.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume XI, Number 298
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About this Author

Jason Weber Employment Litigation attorney Polsinelli Dallas Texas
Shareholder

Jason Weber is an attorney in the Employment Litigation practice and is Board Certified in Labor and Employment Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization. He focuses his practice on business disputes and employment-related consulting and litigation. He has represented Fortune 500 companies, middle-market firms, small businesses and individuals in Texas state courts, federal courts, administrative tribunals and alternative dispute resolution forums. Jason’s experience includes defending management and providing guidance on a variety of employment issues including age, disability and...

214-754-5741
Melanie Uremovich Dallas employment litigation labor attorney Polsinelli PC
Associate

Melanie Uremovich is an associate in the Employment Litigation practice. She brings a thorough and pragmatic approach to assisting clients with their litigation matters. Melanie’s practice focuses on representing employers in workplace law matters, including preventive advice and counseling. Melanie advises employers on how to navigate numerous federal and Texas-specific employment laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. She has experience defending employers in various disputes...

214-661-5545
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