Texan employees now have a way to fight ‘illegal vaccine mandates’ thanks for Gov. Abbott’s hotline

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On Wednesday, Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement announcing the creation of a new hotline that any Texas employee can call to report “illegal vaccine mandates” in the Lone Star state.

“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,” the Republican governor wrote, posting a copy of the announcement to his Twitter account.

“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.

The governor cited a Texas Workforce Commission letter that was sent to Texas employers explaining that Executive Order GA-40 was enacted because “the Biden Administration was bullying many private entities into imposing COVID-19 mandates” that were causing workplace disruptions and interfering with Texas’ economic recovery from the pandemic’s impact on the state.

The letter further explains, “The federal government has sown confusion among employers and employees by issuing a series of COVID-19 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, which is signed by three Texas Workforce commissioners — representing the public, labor, and employers — warns employers that they “should not mandate any Texan receive a COVID-19 vaccine without notifying the employee of the necessary exemptions and processing those exemptions in good faith.”

The letter invites any employee subject to a mandate to contact the Texas Workforce Commission, listing both a phone number and email address to report violations. The letter concludes by stating that “verified tips from employees who have been impacted by employer mandates will be referred to the appropriate authorities for prosecution.”

Reaction to the governor’s new policy has been swift. Comments on his Twitter account ranged from grateful thanks to one individual asking why Abbott was “working so hard to make Texans die from COVID.”

But Abbott spokeswoman Renae Eze said in a statement to the Austin-American Statesman, “Gov. Abbott continues hearing from countless Texans who are worried about losing their jobs because of federal overreach.”

“With both OSHA and CMS’s vaccine mandates recently halted in Texas, it’s clear 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,” Eze added.


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