In addition to the new sexual harassment protections that we wrote about here, the Texas Legislature has passed other employment legislation in its most recent regular session and two-specially called legislative sessions.
Statutory Liability Protection for Texas Businesses
- Knowingly failed to warn of, or to fix, a condition it knew was likely to result in exposure, and the failure to warn or fix was the cause in fact of the exposure; or
- Knowingly failed or refused to comply with government standards, guidance, or protocols that are intended to lower the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19, and the failure or refusal to comply was the cause in fact of the exposure.
The PLPA’s liability shield will continue to protect businesses until Governor Abbott terminates the current COVID-19 pandemic disaster declaration. Notably, the law does not create a private cause of action.
Additional Permitted Medical Use for Low-THC Cannabis
This new law significantly expands the number of people potentially eligible for a prescription, as the previous law only permitted prescriptions for epilepsy, a seizure disorder, multiple sclerosis, spasticity, sclerosis, autism, and terminal cancer. The new law also permits a prescription of low-THC cannabis in an approved research program.
Under the terms of the bill, one or more compassionate-use institutional review boards would be established to evaluate and approve proposed research programs that would study the medical use of low-THC cannabis in treating specific medical conditions. The boards would also oversee patient treatment that was undertaken as part of an approved research program, including the certification of treating physicians.
The law instructs the relevant state agencies to issue rules and guidance by December 1, 2021. Although the new law does not contain any employee protections for use of cannabis, employees may request accommodations for permission to use low-THC cannabis for medical purposes.
Expanded Protections for Employees Called to State Military Duty
New Firearm Carry Act Allows Carrying of Handguns Without a Permit
Paid Sick Leave Still Not Required
There is therefore still no state or local law that requires Texas employers to provide paid sick leave.