Federal Judge Halts United Airlines Vaccine Mandate

Ruling grants court more time to hear arguments from United employees about discriminatory practices related to its vaccine mandate.

Image Credits: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

A federal judge in Texas ordered United Airlines to temporarily halt its plan to put employees on leave for requesting a religious exemption from its vaccine mandate.

US District Judge Mark Pittman of Forth Worth issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday blocking United from taking action against employees who requested an exemption from the mandatory COVID injection.

“The court is not currently ruling on the merits of the parties’ arguments on these points,” Pittman said in his order. “Rather the court seeks simply to avoid the risk of irreparable harm to the parties and to maintain the status quo while the court holds an evidentiary hearing.”

The ruling was in response to a lawsuit filed by six United employees in September who argued the company’s policy discriminated against them for requesting accommodation, a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act.

Mark Paoletta, the attorney for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, hailed the judge’s ruling.

“United Airlines’ refusal to provide reasonable accommodations to its vaccine mandate violates the federal civil rights protections of our clients, the hard working men and women at United,” said Paoletta. “We look forward to our clients’ rights be permanently protected.”

United responded to the judge’s move defending its vaccine mandate.

United CEO Scott Kirby told CBS This Morning that over 99% of the airline’s 67,000 US employees have been vaccinated since the company made it a requirement on 6 August, and that 232 employees were in the process of getting fired for refusing.

What’s the Truth Behind Southwest Cancellations?