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United Airlines Allows Over 2,000 Unvaccinated Employees Back to Work

United Airlines, El American

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More than 2,000 United Airlines employees who were on unpaid leave for not having been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be able to return to work this Monday.

According to a report by Fox Business, which had access to an internal memo distributed by the airline’s vice president of Human Resources Kirk Limacher, employees with an approved “reasonable accommodation” request to not take the vaccine, whether for medical or religious reasons, will be able to return to work given the drop in COVID-19-associated cases, hospitalizations, and deaths nationwide.

United Airlines may reevaluate the measure

“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 said.

With a few isolated exceptions, United Airlines forced about 67,000 employees to get vaccinated under the threat of losing their jobs, with a deadline last October, as part of its internal vaccination policy.

“Since November – a time that included the record-breaking Omicron surge – our vaccinated employees were remarkably safe compared to our employees who were on an approved request for reasonable accommodation (RAP), as well as compared to the general population,” Limacher continued in the statement.

The United Airlines executive noted that 5 of the 2,200 employees who received a vaccine exemption died.

Limacher said that, if a new variant emerges or if “COVID trends suddenly reverse course,” the company will reevaluate security protocols.

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