Ban on Vaccine Mandates for Private Employers Proposed by Texas Legislature

The Texas Legislature reconvened on October 9 for its third special session of the year. Among the items listed on the call released by Governor Abbott is a “[prohibition of] COVID-19 vaccine mandates by private employers.” At the time of writing, there were two main proposals on the topic; one in the Senate and one in the House.

In the Senate, SB 7 was filed by Sen. Middleton. It states that a private employer may not adopt or enforce a mandate requiring an employee or contractor to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Adverse actions – punishing, alienating, terminating employment, etc. – are prohibited on the basis of COVID-19 vaccination status per the legislation. The bill creates a mechanism for an employee claiming to be adversely impacted on this basis to file a complaint with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC), which will investigate. If the TWC determines through its investigation that an offense was committed by the employer, a fine of up to $1,000 per offense can be levied against the employer unless they reinstate the employee or contractor to their position.

In the House, HB 123 was filed by Rep. Toth. Broader in scope when compared to SB 7’s focus on the COVID-19 vaccine, HB 123 establishes the right of employees to not be required to disclose personal health information to their employer unless such a disclosure is required by state or federal law. Like SB 7, any alleged adverse actions taken against an employee would be investigated by the TWC. An employer found in violation would be liable for a civil penalty in the amount of $50,000.

The Fort Worth Chamber is following legislation that may have an impact on area businesses throughout the special session. If your business would be impacted by this legislation, please contact Kyle Jacobson, Vice President of Advocacy, at

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