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United Airlines accused of refusing employee exemptions to vaccine mandate By Reuters


© Reuters.

By Daniel Wiessner

(Reuters) – United Airlines Inc is facing claims that it unlawfully denied religious and medical exemptions from a requirement that employees receive COVID-19 vaccines after allegedly making it difficult for workers to apply for them.

On Tuesday, six United employees filed a lawsuit in Texas Federal Court alleging that exemptions to the vaccination mandate were denied to workers. They claimed that their religious and medical beliefs were interrogated.

United, based in Chicago, stated that the suit was not meritorious and had received an overwhelming response from its employees since it announced last month’s vaccine requirement. According to United, more than 97% U.S. employees have been vaccinated.

As President Joe Biden seeks to mandate that all 100-plus employees be vaccinated, the lawsuit highlights some of the legal problems employers have to face in ordering vaccines.

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Plaintiffs requested Wednesday that the court temporarily suspend enforcement of United’s mandate to employees who ask for exemptions. According to the suit, United required that workers receive the minimum number of vaccine doses by September 27. Otherwise they would be fired.

An additional legal challenge was made by United to the vaccine mandate. It was rejected last week by an American judge. According to the judge, this lawsuit wasn’t properly filed.

Plaintiffs in Tuesday’s suit claim that United only gave employees until August 31 to ask for religious and medical exemptions from vaccine requirements. After that date, it automatically rejected any requests.

United is accused of violating federal laws against discrimination based upon religion and disability.

Workers are seeking representation for a class of workers across the country, they claimed. This would probably include more than 2000 United employees.

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