Vaccine Mandate for United’s Employees Can Continue, says Judge
A judge ruled in favor of United Airlines’ vaccine mandate after six of its employees sued the company over its vaccine mandate policy.
Last September, six United Airline employees sued the airline over its vaccine mandate policy, which says unvaccinated workers who receive medical or religious exemptions would be put on unpaid leave.
Read more: Vaccine Mandates Eased by the White House?
The affected staff argued that United had violated legal obligations by not allowing them to continue in their role with regular testing and face masks.
United argued that allowing unvaccinated employees onboard its flights would put the health of others at risk while also acknowledging the next-to-zero risk of COVID transmission on its flights.
United Airlines announced it would make COVID vaccinations mandatory for all employees in August as the first airline to do so company-wide, regardless of job duties.
The final deadline was October 25th, when employees had to choose between providing a vaccination certificate or going on unpaid leave. Up until mid-September, only ten workers had resigned as a result of the requirements.
The airline has one of the strictest employee vaccine policies in the country. United has said that more than 96% of its 67,000-person U.S. workforce is vaccinated.
US District Judge Mark Pittman in Fort Worth, Texas, said that, in the end, human resources policy was up to the company, and no employee had been forced to accept a vaccine.
However, the judge expressed criticism towards United for not accepting exemptions on religious grounds – something that the Biden administration mandate takes into account, along with medical reasons.
It is said that United staff who receive medical or religious exemptions would be placed on unpaid leave.
Pittman wrote in his ruling: “it is not for the Court to decide if United’s vaccine mandate is bad policy. Rather, it is the Court’s role to determine if Plaintiffs carried their burden to obtain a preliminary injunction.”
United Airlines Holdings Inc., formerly United Continental Holdings, Inc., is a holding company and its principal, wholly-owned subsidiary is United Airlines, Inc. (United).
The Company transports people and cargo throughout North America and to destinations in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.
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