Hundreds of United Airlines employees could be terminated for failing to comply with the company's COVID-19 vaccination mandate

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United Airlines is going forward with plans to terminate hundreds of workers who failed to meet the company's COVID-19 vaccination deadline, United officials said Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The airline had said last month that it would require vaccination of its 67,000 U.S. employees, according to the outlet. The company is beginning the process of cutting loose 593 people who failed to get the vaccination, company officials said, according to the Journal, though the employees could retain their positions if they decide to get vaccinated prior to their official termination meetings.

The impending firings pertain to workers who decided not to get vaccinated, the outlet noted. Around 2,000 employees pursued religious or medical exemptions, United officials said, according to the outlet. While the company had planned to place workers who obtained the exemptions on unpaid leave beginning Saturday, it has shoved this back until Oct. 15 as it grapples with a lawsuit, according to the Journal.

“In early August, United rolled out one of the most comprehensive employee vaccination policies in the country. Now, about seven weeks later, we're proud to announce that more than 99% of our U.S.-based employees chose to get vaccinated, excluding those who submitted for an accommodation,” the company's Chief Executive Officer Scott Kirby and President Brett Hart wrote in a letter to employees.

“For those who submitted for a medical or religious accommodation, we have extended the deadline for implementing the accommodations in light of a pending court case,” they wrote. “Lastly, for the less than 1% of people who decided not to get vaccinated, we'll unfortunately begin the process of separation from the airline per our policy.”


COVID-19 vaccination mandates have sprung up throughout the U.S. in the public and private sectors, forcing some people to choose between getting a vaccine they don't want and losing their employment.

More than half of the U.S. population has been vaccinated against coronavirus. So far 64.9% of the U.S. population ages 12 and above has been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, while 75.3% of that population demographic has received at least one dose, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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