Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott issued a statement on Wednesday that announced a new hotline for employees to contact regarding “illegal vaccine mandates” in the Lone Star State.
“Since day one, Texas has taken a stand against the federal government’s unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandates,” Abbott tweeted.
“We have now created a hotline for Texas employees to report illegal vaccine mandates,” he added. “The COVID-19 vaccine will always be voluntary & never forced in Texas.”
Since day one, Texas has taken a stand against the federal government’s unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
We have now created a hotline for Texas employees to report illegal vaccine mandates.
The COVID-19 vaccine will always be voluntary & never forced in Texas. pic.twitter.com/OpOIjKnuGF
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 9, 2021
The governor also issued a statement from his office following the Texas Workforce Commission’s (TWC) letter to Texas employers clarifying the state’s law on COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
“Since day one, the State of Texas has taken a stand against the federal government’s unconstitutional COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the workplace, three of which have since been deemed illegal by federal courts,” Abbott said in the statement.
“My Executive Order clearly states that no employer can mandate the COVID-19 vaccine for an employee with a religious, personal, or medical exemption. We have now created a hotline for employees to report illegal vaccine mandates in Texas. While I encourage Texans to get the COVID-19 vaccine, it will always be voluntary, and never forced, in Texas, and we are committed to ensuring Texans’ livelihoods are not jeopardized by federal overreach,” he added.
Texas employees can call (800) 939-6631 or email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding concerns with vaccine mandates. The statement noted, “TWC will refer verified tips to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.”
The letter says:
The federal government has sown confusion among employers and employees by issuing a series of COVID-19 vaccine mandates of dubious legality. But 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.
The letter warns employers:
Employers should not mandate that any Texan receive a COVID-19 vaccine without notifying the employee of the necessary exemptions and processing those exemptions in good faith.
The TWC letter concludes:
Verified tips from employees who have been impacted by employer mandates will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.
Despite strong pushback on vaccine mandate requirements, the issue arose again this week regarding requirements at the University of Texas at Austin.
New from UT:
“While certain federal contracts require universities to mandate vaccines for employees working under these contracts, UT System institutions will always grant exceptions and will not terminate employees for refusing to be vaccinated.” https://t.co/feLlo1kLRG
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) December 8, 2021
“Governor Abbott continues hearing from countless Texans who are worried about losing their jobs because of this federal overreach,” Abbott spokesperson Renae Eze said in a statement to the Austin American-Statesman.
“With both OSHA and CMS’s vaccine mandates recently halted in Texas, it’s clear that the courts agree that the Biden Administration is overstepping their constitutional authority and attempting to trample Americans’ right to choose for themselves whether to get vaccinated,” she added.
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