The following legislation was recently passed in the state of Texas. As an employer, the information included in this post may apply to your business. It is every employer’s responsibility to verify that they are in compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
House Bill 609 (2023)
Pandemic Liability of a Business Owner or Operator
Under House Bill 609, Texas businesses are no longer liable for COVID spread or death if they do not have a mask or vaccination policy.
The new law states, “A business owner or operator that does not require employees or contractors of the business to be vaccinated against a pandemic disease is not liable for injury or death caused by the exposure of an individual to the pandemic disease through an employee or contractor of the business.”
HB 609 took effect on September 1st, 2023.
House Bill 915 (2023)
Workplace Violence Hotline Creation
Under House Bill 915, effective September 1st, 2023, Texas employers are required to post a notice to employees related to reporting instances of workplace violence or suspicious activity, but enforcement is unlikely until the Texas Workforce Commission issues the prescribed notice. The law does not require the Texas Workforce Commission to issue the prescribed notice until March 1st, 2024.
Specifically, all employers, regardless of size, must “post a notice to employees of the contact information for reporting instances of workplace violence or suspicious activity to the [Texas] Department of Public Safety.”
The law also requires each employer to post the notice (1) “in a conspicuous place in the employer’s place of business,” (2) “in sufficient locations to be convenient to all employees,” and (3) “in English and Spanish, as appropriate.”
House Bill 2459 (2023)
Penalties of the Employment of Children
Under House Bill 2459, numerous child labor law practices were updated in the state of Texas. Effective September 1st, 2023, HB 2459: (i) creates a new penalty of up to $10,000 for employers that engage in child labor violations; (ii) requires the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) to establish Child Labor Tribunals to adjudicate disputed preliminary determinations (including penalty amounts) by investigators; and (iii) establishes an additional level of appeal to the TWC for the parties, among other procedural changes. Also, under HB 2459, the attorney general reserves the right to seek injunctive relief against a repeated violator of the state law.
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