United Airlines prepares to lay off 593 unvaccinated employees

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United Airlines, which had asked all its employees based in the United States to be vaccinated by early August, will part ways with nearly 600 employees who have not received any dose against Covid-19. 

United Airlines had left its employees nearly two months to be immunised against Covid-19. The airline is now preparing to lay off 593 people who have not provided proof of their vaccination. At the beginning of August, the firm had asked its 67,000 employees based in the United States to be vaccinated, an obligation already envisaged in January, when the vaccines had been made available to the population.

CEO Scott Kirby and public affairs official Brett Hart said in a message: “It was an incredibly difficult decision, but ensuring the safety of our team has always been our priority. For unvaccinated employees, the company will initiate a dismissal process, in accordance with a procedure negotiated with the unions“.

Exemption requests

Less than 3% of the employees concerned, or nearly 2,000 people, asked to be exempted from compulsory vaccination for medical or religious reasons. Of those who did not ask for anything, 99% were vaccinated. According to the federal agency responsible for enforcing laws against discrimination in the workplace (EEOC), employers have the right to impose the vaccine on employees going to their place of work, with exceptions for medical or religious reasons.