Update: United Airlines says the number of employees facing termination for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has dropped nearly by half, to 320, after more of its 67,000 US workers provided evidence of vaccination, per the AP. The airline had said Tuesday that 593 employees faced termination unless they got their shots or provided proof they'd already received them. An airline spokeswoman said Thursday that the declining number of potential firings shows that the company's policy of requiring vaccinations is working. Our earlier story follows:
United Airlines says almost all of its employees are now vaccinated—and those that aren't are getting fired. The company said Tuesday that it had started the process of firing 593 workers who decided not to get vaccinated against COVID and have not received an exemption, reports Reuters. United said the employees could keep their jobs if they get vaccinated before their formal termination meeting. The airline said more than 99% of its employees are now vaccinated, not including those who received a medical or religious exemption.
Six employees have sued United, claiming that the airline is discriminating against employees who get exemptions from the vaccine mandate by placing them on unpaid leave. Four of the six employees said they sought religious exemptions based on their belief that the vaccines were developed using aborted fetal tissue; one said she is allergic to eggs and penicillin, and another said he has multiple sclerosis and his neurologist recommended against vaccination. All were granted exemptions but told they would be put on unpaid leave, according to the lawsuit. United Airlines spokeswoman Leslie Scott said the company was "reviewing this complaint in greater detail, but at this point we think it’s without merit.”
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