United Airlines employees sue company over its ‘draconian’ COVID vaccine mandate


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Attorney argues United Airlines’ handling of its new vaccine rule violates the Civil Rights Act of 1964

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First on Granthshala: United Airlines employees have filed a lawsuit against the airline over its coronavirus vaccine mandate.

United said in August that more than half of its 67,000 US-based employees who were not vaccinated in August would need to receive the vaccine by September 27, but with an exception for those for medical and religious reasons. made, which is the argument of the employees. It was not the case.


The six-employee plaintiffs say that United Airlines has failed to accept accommodation requests in connection with the vaccine and has instead offered six years of unpaid leave for those who do not wish to receive the vaccine.

“We filed this lawsuit to protect the rights of honest, hardworking United Airlines employees who have religious or medical reasons for not receiving a COVID-19 vaccine. United has refused to provide any accommodations and these Employees fear United’s harsh mandate that compels them. Either to get the vaccine or lose their jobs. This is unacceptable in America,” Mark Paoletta, a partner at Scher-Jaff, who represents the plaintiffs, told Granthshala Business. said in a statement.

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Employees who regularly come into contact with passengers, such as flight attendants, gate agents and pilots, and whose exemptions are approved, will face an indefinite unpaid leave from October 2. , according to a memo obtained by The Associated Press.

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Employees who rarely deal with passengers – examples include baggage handlers and mechanics – and whose exemptions have been approved will also be placed on leave, but only as long as the airline conducts weekly tests and mandates for them. Doesn’t come with a plan to wear a mask.

Headquarters employees whose exemptions are approved will be placed on leave until United decides on security measures, including whether the person is required to come to the office.

“The most effective thing we can do as an airline to protect the health and safety of all of our employees is to address the need for a vaccine – except for the small number of people seeking exemptions, more than 97% of our Americans Employees have been vaccinated,” a United spokesperson told Granthshala Business. “And we have been encouraged by the overwhelmingly positive response from employees across all work groups, since we announced the policy last month. We are reviewing this complaint in more detail, but at this point, we think it merits is without.”

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Lawyers argue that under the Civil Rights Act, United should make reasonable accommodations for employees, which could include requiring masks and testing for unvaccinated employees. Lawyers note that the Biden administration’s recent vaccine mandate also accepts COVID-19 testing as an alternative to vaccination.

“It is not about how effective vaccines are or whether United can mandate vaccination. The fact is that some people have serious religious objections to the COVID-19 vaccine, and the Civil Rights Act of 1964 allows employers to Beliefs need to be respected and accommodated. United has failed to do that,” Paoletta said, adding that some United employees “also have special medical conditions” and doctors note do not get vaccinated.

In explaining its new rules to employees, United cited data on the state of the pandemic in the US, where the rapid spread of the Delta variant has caused concern in some hotspot areas, except in hospitals – particularly rural. Hospital – Overwhelmed. Most of the cases, hospitalizations and unvaccinated people are dying, said the memo, reviewed by the AP.

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Lawyers for Scher-Jaffe, LLP, of Washington, DC, along with attorneys John Sullivan of Cedar Hill, Texas, and Robert Wiegand and Melissa Swindle of Dallas, Texas, are leading the class-action suit in the Northern District of Texas federal court.

The plaintiffs, on behalf of a class of lawyers who believe there will be about 2,000 employees, are seeking a temporary restraining order against United’s plan to put unpaid employees on six years of unpaid leave. Huh.

In a statement Tuesday, a grassroots organization of US airline employees working to protect members’ religious freedom and medical freedom expressed support for the lawsuit to Airline Employee 4 Health Freedom.

“These past few months have been extremely difficult times for many people. We have listened to and supported thousands of colleagues who have been troubled by this grueling process,” the group said. “Based on the facts stated in the complaint, we are confident that the judge and the public will stand by the thousands of United Workers who bravely stand up for the religious and medical rights of all Americans.”

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