From the first approval of the first Covid-19 vaccination, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission has held that employers can have mandatory vaccinations for their employees who work with other people (customers or coworkers), as long as businesses respect the Americans with Disabilities Act and Religious Exemptions.
United Airlines implemented a mandatory vaccination requirement and granted employees around 2,000 religious and medical exemptions. Their accommodation for these employees was an unpaid leave of absence.
In November, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman in Fort Worth, Texas, said that the airline had not put the employees in an “impossible position,” choosing between job or jab, and allowed the airline to move forward with their unpaid leave plan.
In December, the Fifth Circuit upheld this decision in an emergency decision. Then it went back to a three-member panel at the Fifth Circuit to review at their leisure.
They reversed the district court and sent it back. The Per Curium (unsigned) decision states:
To keep reading, click here: A Court Says United Airline’s Unpaid Leave Policy for Religious Objectors Does ‘Irreparable Harm’
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I agree that the decision can be — largely — ignored. It’s just the Fifth Circuit muddling up an issue, as usual. The whole dispute is almost “much ado about nothing,” since there will be very few employees qualifying for a religious exemption anyway, and the legal test as to whether or not a religious accommodation is reasonable is that it doesn’t create more than a de minimus hardship, an extremely low bar indeed.
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