United Airlines to allow unvaccinated staff to return to jobs
United Airlines will allow its unvaccinated employees to return to their previous roles at the airline.
According to an internal United Airlines memo, which was reviewed by Fox News Business on March 29, 2022, employees who were temporarily placed on unpaid leave after refusing a COVID-19 vaccine for religious or medical reasons will be allowed to return to their jobs at the end of this month.
The airline’s vice president of Human Resources Kirk Limacher said that since COVID-19 infection rates have declined, the airline is confident that it will be able to safely reintroduce staff into the workplace.
"As the Omicron surge shows clear signs of receding and as we’ve seen how high the protection remains for those of you who are vaccinated, we’re using that same commitment to safety and science to ensure our policies reflect the broader shift to the endemic stage of the pandemic," Limacher was cited as saying by media.
The updated policy will affect more than 2,000 employees with an approved request for reasonable accommodation (RAP), including those who took unpaid leave.
United Airlines is notable for having one of the U.S.’s strictest vaccination mandates, previously requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or face termination. In October 2021, the airline fired more than 230 employees who refused the COVID-19 vaccination, as employees failed to comply with the airline’s mandatory policy. Staff terminations arrived weeks after United’s decision to place 2,000 unvaccinated workers, who were all seeking medical or religious exemptions, on unpaid leave.
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