United Airlines announced plans to allow some unvaccinated employees who had been forced off the job because of their vaccine status to return to work.
The change applies to people who have vaccination exemptions for religious or medical reasons, The Wall Street Journal reported.
United Airlines was the first carrier in the United States to mandate that its employees receive a vaccine for COVID-19, as we previously reported. In January, the company said despite its precautions that approximately 3,000 employees were testing positive for the virus.
Approximately 2,200 people who work for United Airlines received exemptions for the vaccine and were placed on unpaid leave or moved to roles that did not require any in-person interaction with customers, The New York Times reported. Now those employees will be able to return to their normal positions.
“We expect Covid case counts, hospitalizations and deaths to continue to decline nationally over the next few weeks and, accordingly, we plan to welcome back those employees,” Kirk Limacher, United’s vice president of human resources, said in a note to employees, The New York Times reported.
United has said it fired more than 200 employees who refused to get the vaccination and had no exemptions, The Wall Street Journal reported. Those people will not be brought back to work. Newly hired workers will need to be vaccinated, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Six employees had sued United over its vaccine mandate and a federal judge in Texas upheld it in November, but the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the federal judge must reconsider the workers’ argument, CNBC reported. Because of the changed policy, United is now asking the courts to dismiss that ruling.
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