United Airlines has an impressive 97 percent vaccinated workforce, but six employees who sought accommodations are suing, saying the offered accommodations are essentially a termination.
The Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) clearly said that companies could require mandatory vaccinations as long as they offer accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and religious exemptions. President Biden’s mandate added to the permission to mandate making companies with more than 100 employees either mandate vaccines or have employees undergo weekly testing. (The exact requirements have not yet been released, but the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) should release them soon.)
United Airlines’ accommodation for people who turned down vaccinations for religious or medical reasons is an unpaid leave of absence. That, in the employees’ minds, is termination by another name. United says they are looking for a solution for employees who don’t work on flights, but those who go up in the air must stay on leave until the pandemic “meaningfully recedes.”
To keep reading, click here: Employees of United Airlines Are Suing Over Mandatory Vaccines. Is Your Business Next?
4 thoughts on “Employees of United Airlines Are Suing Over Mandatory Vaccines. Is Your Business Next?”
Interesting how words can be twisted to new meanings. This situation is quite similar to what the New York State Board of Education is requiring for their employees, especially now that the biggest complaint of FDA approval has passed. As it stands and this column has discussed many times, employers can place requirements for working, despite the individual employees’ wish desires for a “perfect” workplace. We are going to see more employees complaining about being put on unpaid leaves of absence because they are refusing to follow the job requirement. I blame that dissatisfaction about the unpaid leave on the length of time they received paid time off as in the teachers of an almost 2 year time period. What is not being reported here is the only reason they got all that paid time off was because of a negotiated contract by their unions. Now that the contract is no longer in place, employers can require vaccination proof or demand constant testing or put employees on unpaid leaves from jobs. In New York, as of 9/27/21, if BOE employees are not vaccine they will be put on non-classroom activities with pay until November and still not vaccinate by that point, they are on unpaid leave until the end of the current school year which ends in June 2022, but they will have covered healthcare benefits. If non-complacent by June 2022, it will be determined that they no longer wish to keep the job.
Correct me if I am wrong but this sounds very much like accommodation for a disability which the employee has to choose to accept or not. (stay or quit). I don’t think the employers are wrong as it is time to move on and create the new “normalcy” whether it is “acceptable” or not to all the individuals.
Employers have a general duty — under OSHA — to provide a safe workplace for their employees. Airlines also have a legal duty to provide a safe environment for their passengers, as well. A rare few employees will qualify for a reasonable accommodation, based on disability, that will exempt them from the vaccination requirement. The reason for that is that there are very few medical conditions that are contraindications for all of the approved vaccines. To the contrary, the emerging medical consensus appears to be that — for almost everybody — the risks from the vaccines are far less than the risks of — and from — contracting COVID-19. Even fewer employees will qualify for a reasonable accommodation, based on religion, that will exempt them from a vaccination requirement. While there are a few religions with known proscriptions against various medical treatments — e.g., Christian Scientists and Jehovah’s Witnesses — a religious accommodation is not required if it imposes more than a de minimus hardship on an employer, which is, legally, a very low bar. And, granting unpaid leave — as opposed to outright termination — certainly constitutes an accommodation of sorts, in its own right.
Jehovah’s Witnesses are not anti-vaxxers, that is not a tenant of their religion. Dunno about the Scientologists. ♀️
The Scientologists don’t believe in psychiatry. The JWs only object to blood transfusions. Dunno if the Church of Space Alien God are also anti-vaxxers.
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