Texas Bans COVID-19 Vaccine Mandates: 7 Vital Points for Dentist Employers

Dec 13, 2023

Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed Senate Bill 7 into law, effective February 6, 2024, banning COVID-19 vaccine mandates in private workplaces. Here are 7 key points for dentist employers:

1. Effective Date: SB 7 takes effect on February 6, 2024.

2. Scope: Applies to all private employers, defining them as persons employing one or more individuals.

3. Protection: Safeguards employees, contractors, and applicants.

4. Prohibitions: Private employers cannot enforce COVID-19 vaccine mandates or take adverse actions against those refusing vaccination.

5. Exception: Certain health care providers, including dentists, physicians, and specific health care facilities, have the authority to establish and enforce reasonable protective measures for unvaccinated employees without facing adverse action consequences. The law specifies a reasonable policy as one that "includes requiring the use of protective medical equipment by an individual who is an employee or contractor of the facility, provider, or physician and who is not vaccinated against COVID-19, based on the level of risk the individual poses to patients due to routine and direct exposure."

6. Commission Oversight: The Texas Workforce Commission will investigate complaints regarding adverse actions due to vaccine refusal.

7. Penalties: Penalties for violations include fines up to $50,000 per offense, injunctive relief, and recovery of investigative costs.

The Texas Workforce Commission will adopt rules as necessary to implement and enforce the law. Dentist employers should review their current COVID-19 policies and align their COVID-19 vaccine policies with SB 7.

Feb 20, 2024