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COVID-19 & Texas Law

This guide is updated to reflect information pertaining to the COVID-19 pandemic. Information in this guide is subject to change at any time.

Employment


Contents

This page contains information on the following. Click the link to jump to each topic:

Employee Rights
Information on employee medical privacy, disability discrimination, and information on getting fired due to COVID-19.

Vaccine Laws & Regulations
Information about Texas and federal executive orders and proposed federal regulations about COVID-19 vaccines.

Employee Medical Leave
Options for employees who need to take off work due to COVID-19.

Workplace Safety
Information on workplace safety requirements and employer liability.

Mask Policies at Stores or Businesses
Information on mask policies for customers and/or employees. Also see the Mask Laws page of this guide.

Unemployment
Information on current unemployment benefits for those who are out of work due to COVID-19.

Information for Employers
General employment law information related to COVID-19.

Employee Rights

Privacy, Health, Workplace Policies

Hiring & Firing

Vaccine Laws & Regulations

Both Governor Abbott and President Biden have issued executive orders concerning COVID-19 vaccines. For information about these executive orders and President Biden's proposed federal regulations, see the COVID-19 Vaccine Laws page on the COVID-19 & Texas Law research guide.

FAQs

Employee Medical Leave

Medical Leave

Provisions Under the Families First Act

Workplace Safety

FAQs

OSHA Guidelines

Mask Policies at Stores or Businesses

Private businesses still have the right to require masks for customers and employees, but most state and local government entities can no longer do so.

Policies for Customers

Governor Abbott's Executive Order No. GA-38 states the following regarding a private business's ability to require masks:

In providing or obtaining services, every person (including individuals, businesses, and other legal entities) is strongly encouraged to use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) health recommendations, found at www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus

Previous executive orders related to the COVID-19 response explicitly stated that nothing in the orders prevented a business from requiring their customers to follow certain hygiene measures, including masks, but this language does not appear in GA-38.

Generally speaking, a business can set their own rules and policies — similar to a “no shirt, no shoes, no service” rule — as long as they do not discriminate against a protected class of people (e.g., on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or disability). Please see the Disabilities & Mask Requirements box on this page for information about requesting accommodations related to a disability.

Policies for Employees

According to the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (see FAQ G.2) an employer can require employees to wear protective gear (such as face coverings or gloves). Employees may make a request for a reasonable accommodation under the ADA or a religious accommodation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (such as a modified mask that can be worn with a religious head covering). Employers should provide the modification or an alternative modification unless it would create an “undue hardship” for the employer.

Unemployment

Will I qualify for unemployment?

New Relief for Workers

Apply for Assistance

Information for Employers

Employment Law

Planning & Business Continuity

More help?