As many as 600 United Airlines employees may lose their employment with the carrier after refusing to get vaccinated.
About 2000 US-based employees of United Airlines have requested vaccination exemptions due to various medical conditions or on religious grounds. Since early August of 2021 the carrier has been pushing it’s COVID-19 vaccination policy to all of its 67000 US employees.
United Airlines Chief Executive Scott Kirby said on September 28, 2021 that “This was an incredibly difficult decision but keeping our team safe has always been a priority.”
The carrier threatened its employees in an internal memo that it will start the process of terminating employment for those failing to comply with its vaccination policy.
However, not all US airline carriers require vaccinations from all of their domestic employees.
Southwest Airlines is one of the airlines in the US that will continue to encourage but will not require mandatory vaccinations of their employees.
According to media reports, a vaccinated Southwest Airlines employee died from COVID-19 early last month after he had been fully vaccinated. Maurice Shepperson, a Southwest flight attendant has died in a Las Vegas hospital after flying to Hawaii in June.
United Airlines spokesperson said that vaccinations will be a condition for employment for all new hires. Fears that the vaccine requirements may deter new applicants have been dismissed by the carrier. A recent job fair in Denver, CO attracted twice as many job applicants for about 400 job openings.
The carrier planned to put employees with religious and disability accommodations on unpaid personal leave. However, United employees challenged the United Airlines mandate in federal court as it violates religious and disability accommodations in the workplace.