Federal judge rules in favor of United Airlines vaccine mandate

Coronavirus

CHICAGO — A federal judge in Texas has ruled that United Airlines can enforce its COVID-19 mandate. 

The Hill reports that U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman said that the six United employees who sued to stop the mandate did not establish how they would suffer “imminent, irreparable harm” if the order were temporarily lifted.

As a result of Monday’s ruling, unvaccinated employees may be placed on unpaid leave, even if they received medical or religious exemptions from the airline company.

Last month, United asked a federal judge in Texas not to extend a temporary ban on the vaccine mandate the airline announced in August. The Fort Worth judge declined, extending an interim order days later that prevented the airline from placing unvaccinated workers with a religious or medical exemption to the company’s mandate on unpaid leave.

A Bloomberg report revealed that the airlines blamed unvaccinated pilots for costing the company nearly one and a half million dollars every two weeks. The airline was forced to put pilots on paid leave because colleagues refused “to risk their safety” by flying with unvaccinated coworkers.

In a statement to The Hill, United Airlines said they were pleased with the court’s ruling.

The decision comes as tens of millions of Americans who work at companies with 100 or more employees will need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by Jan. 4 or get tested for the virus weekly under government rules.

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