WACO, Texas — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise around the country, some employers are now requiring employees to get the vaccine. Many are asking if this is legal.
“Yes, it is legal for most employers to mandate that the employees be vaccinated in order to work there,” Baylor Law Professor Patricia Wilson said.
So why is this the case here in Texas?
“In Texas, we live by the rule of employment at will,” she said. “What that means is the employment relationship exists as long as both the employer and the employee want it to last and what that means, practically speaking, the employer can terminate or refuse to hire for any reason or no reason at all.”
“There are some exceptions – but for most employees, those exceptions will not apply to a vaccination mandate,” she added.
The Baylor Scott and White medical facility has already released a statement to its employees about the vaccine:
“Similar to our flu vaccine program, employees must be vaccinated against COVID-19, provide written proof of being vaccinated, or receive an approved exemption by October 1, 2021,” the statement read.
“If an employee is noncompliant, they will be subject to separation from employment. Our culture of safety runs deep and so does our commitment as a large employer and trusted healthcare provider to take every measure to protect all.”
There are a few exemptions some people can meet to not adhere to a requirement of the COVID-19 vaccine, but Professor Wilson explains that despite this, a business owner can still make a decision on your employment due to worry about other workers and customers.
“The employer still could say you are a direct threat,” she said. “You are a direct threat to other employees or to our customers or clients by virtue of you being unvaccinated.”