At businesses & events
Some businesses ask their customers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine or a recent negative test. For example, an event may ask participants to show either a COVID-19 vaccination card or proof of a recent negative test to be admitted. These options may be part of the business's policy.
Businesses can set their own rules and policies — like a "no shirt, no shoes, no service" rule you may see in a store. The policies cannot discriminate against a protected class of people (e.g., based on race, color, religion, national origin, or disability).
Section 161.0085 of the Texas Health & Safety Code bars businesses from requiring "vaccine passports" to receive service. But these laws do not address testing requirements. Our librarians have not found any laws that directly prohibit testing requirements for COVID-19.
In the workplace
Workplace policies might also require employees show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination or a recent negative test.
Our librarians have not found any state laws that address this. There is some federal guidance, though. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces many federal workplace anti-discrimination laws.
Their guidance states:
A.8. May employers ask all employees physically entering the workplace if they have been diagnosed with or tested for COVID-19? Yes. Employers may ask all employees who will be physically entering the workplace if they have COVID-19 or symptoms associated with COVID-19, and ask if they have been tested for COVID-19.
The EEOC guidance also allows employers to administer a COVID-19 test to employees entering the workplace. The testing must meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements:
A.6. May an employer administer a COVID-19 test (a test to detect the presence of the COVID-19 virus) when evaluating an employee’s initial or continued presence in the workplace? The ADA requires that any mandatory medical test of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” Applying this standard to the current circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic, employers may take screening steps to determine if employees entering the workplace have COVID-19 because an individual with the virus will pose a direct threat to the health of others. Therefore an employer may choose to administer COVID-19 testing to employees before initially permitting them to enter the workplace and/or periodically to determine if their presence in the workplace poses a direct threat to others.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney about a COVID-19 policy you encounter before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
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