Texas Workplace Compliance
News & Resources
Everything’s bigger in Texas—including workforce safety and compliance risks. Between the region’s hot climate, large number of businesses, and concentration of hazardous industries, employers in the Lone Star State face myriad operational issues and compliance concerns.
Don’t put your business at risk of penalties, lawsuits, increased insurance expenses, and the other expenses that follow in the wake of avoidable safety incidents. Keep your people safe, remain on the right side of the law, and stay ahead of the competition with KPA’s EHS and workforce compliance resources.
Stay on top of safety and compliance the right way with this Texas-specific information but be sure to seek legal counsel when you’re looking for how these changes will directly impact your business. Wherever available, KPA products are updated with the latest government notices and posters for employers.
Texas COVID News
Who: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Texas employers and employees
When: Effective immediately.
What: On June 15, 2022, the Fifth Circuit issued a ruling declaring that COVID-19 does not fall under the natural disaster notice exception under the federal Workers’ Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) Act. In the case, employees of a Texas oil company were terminated without any advance notice. The employees filed suit, and the trial court determined that the COVID-19 pandemic was a form of “natural disaster.”
The employees appealed, and the Fifth Circuit Court ruled that the definition of “natural disaster” only applies to the examples given in the text of the WARN statute (i.e., hydrological, geological, and meteorological events). The Fifth Circuit specifically reasoned that Congress was familiar with past pandemics when the WARN Act was passed and could have included words such as “disease” or “pandemic” in the examples listed if it wanted to do so.
Review your current policies and procedures and update them to comply with the new ruling.
Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.
Who: Texas employers and employees
When: Effective immediately
What: On December 8th, 2021, the Texas Workforce Commission sent a letter to all employers regarding the enforcement of Executive Order GA-40, which prohibits COVID-19 vaccine mandates for employers. Per the order, employers are required to notify employees of vaccination exemptions, including reasons of personal conscience, medical, and religious objections.
The letter from the Texas Workforce Commission claims objection to vaccine mandates directed by the federal on certain types of workers including federal contractors, healthcare workers, and employees of companies that employ over 100 people. All three federal vaccine mandates mentioned are currently being challenged in court.
The Workforce Commission letter also stresses that in Texas, should an employee be terminated for refusing vaccination without first being offered an exemption form by their employer, the employee will most likely still qualify for unemployment benefits.
- Review your current policies and procedures and update them to comply with the new mandate.
- Educate and inform your employees about state mandates and safety protocols.
- Stay informed on state challenges of federal vaccination mandates.
Texas Workforce Commission Letter
Texas HR News
Who: Austin, Texas employers with 15 or more employees
When: Effective immediately
What: On June 9, 2022, the Austin City Council passed the CROWN Act, becoming the first city in Texas to pass such a law. Effective immediately, the law bans discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and employment settings based on hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture. Protected hairstyles include, but are not limited to, afros, Bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
The legislation is based on the CROWN Act initiated in 2019 by Dove and the CROWN Coalition. CROWN stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” The law prohibits racial discrimination based on hairstyle in employment, education, public accommodations, and housing.
- Update your employee handbook and personal appearance policies to comply with the law.
- Train HR personnel, managers, and supervisors on your dress and grooming policies.