New Texas rule lets social workers turn away clients who are LGBTQ or have a disability

On Monday the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners voted unanimously to change a section of its code of conduct that establishes when a social worker may refuse to serve someone. The code will no longer prohibit social workers from turning away clients on the basis of disability, sexual orientation or gender identity.

The governor’s office recommended the change because the code’s nondiscrimination protections went beyond protections laid out in the state law governing how and when the state may discipline social workers. While the rule as it was written covered more ground than the law, it did not contradict the law and was thus permissible.

The chair of the Texas Behavioral Health Executive Council, which oversees a host of regulatory agencies for professions related to mental health, said she would revisit the issue — at least partially — at the council’s next meeting on Oct. 27.


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