Judge Rules in Favor of United Airlines Employee Vaccine Mandate

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  • 03/02/2023

A Texas federal judge ruled that United Airlines can require its employees to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. 

In the 15-page ruling on Monday, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman said that the plaintiffs, six United Airlines employees, had not established they would suffer “imminent, irreparable harm” if he did not issue a preliminary injunction against the mandate, The Hill reports

“We’re pleased with the court’s decision today,” United said in a statement. “We know that the best way to keep everyone as safe as we can is for everyone to get vaccinated, as nearly all United employees have chosen to do.” 

In August, United became the first airline to require its employees to get vaccinated. The following month, six employees filed a lawsuit to stop the mandate, arguing the airline was inconsistent in applying its rules for medical and religious exemptions and claiming the company had discriminated against those who had. 

In October, Pittman granted a temporary restraining order preventing United from denying its employees religious or medical exemptions, and preventing the airline from placing employees on unpaid leave. However, the order expired November 8. 

“Ultimately, however, it is not for the Court to decide if United’s vaccine mandate is bad policy,” Pittman wrote in the ruling. “Rather, it is the Court’s role to determine if Plaintiffs carried their burden to obtain a preliminary injunction.”

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