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Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Irreparable damage to the religious conscience of United Airlines

Vaccination

So far, President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate has fared poorly in court. Whether the mandates implemented by the government will eventually be found legal or constitutional is a matter of ongoing legal debate. However, some private businesses have already chosen parties that may violate employment law.

Unlike other major private carriers, United Airlines announced a system-wide vaccine mandate. United’s CEO, Scott Kirby, claims about his company’s vaccine mandate, while threatening United employees to “be very careful” requesting religious accommodation and saying that those requesting accommodation are “putting Were” [their] Work[s] On the line.” He then followed through on that promise.

Hundreds of United workers exercising their religious right to refuse vaccines have either been formally terminated over some technicalities in the application process or “accommodated” by being sent home without pay. Being away from work and not getting paid is the definition of “unemployment”. This is wrong and illegal.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal for private employers to refuse to accommodate an employee’s religious beliefs. When United appeared to have violated their employment rights, employees took them to court. But a federal district court determined that any violation of Title VII by United can be done away with financial compensation to employees sent home without pay.

Judge James C. Ho of the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit disagreed. In cases of unlawful termination in the “garden variety”, the employees may be properly compensated with financial payments by the company, he said, but that is not the case here. This complaint by United Staff seeking Title VII protections, Judge Ho explained, “is at best a guarantee of irreparable injury, preliminary injunctive relief.”

The damage caused by this unlawful termination cannot be remedied by simply getting another job and filling back the gap in pay. The conscience of every dismissed employee has been damaged. And it seems purposeful. “United is not trying to shoot anybody,” argued Judge Ho. “Instead, the company is trying to get its employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine, despite any religious objections.”

Where private businesses force their employees to violate their trust in order to keep their jobs, they violate the explicit provisions of Title VII. Private businesses that violate Title VII must have a law enforceable and court restrained from engaging in unlawful behavior, lest they be rewarded for their illegal and unjust behavior by a lighter liability column in the Corporate Ledger Let’s do.

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From the White House to the board room, vaccine mandates are all the rage. In the line for Employee Sudden Unemployment, “the person of faith is compelled to face this challenge of conscience, it is not who imposed the mandate, but that the mandate conflicts with religious belief,” Judge Ho noted. Whether it is Joe Biden or Scott Kirby religious workers need to choose between their eternal soul or their means of employment; Both are violating the law and must be stopped if religious freedom has any lasting meaning.

And the sole compensation for such unlawful behavior is no cost. As Judge Ho concluded, “To speculate that a worldly reward of monetary damage can offset these profound challenges to the faith is to misunderstand the entire nature of religious conviction at its most fundamental level. And so on.” It is only whether the mandate comes from the DC or the C-suite.”

In normal times, readily available options would be offered to accommodate a handful of religious staff who, due to conscience and conviction, may not accept the vaccine. United’s competitors, including Delta, are adjusting—in line with CDC recommendations—by testing their employees weekly instead of vaccination; Pay for the test as well. He, and many others, have found a way to balance his employees’ respect for the interests of business, public health, and trust.

The decision whether or not to be vaccinated should be made by the individual between him and his lord, and not by his employer. It must be accurate. Why, in the silly season of COVID-19, will we leave it for private industry to force employees to choose who they will serve: God or the CEO?

For 57 years, Title VII has struck a balance, requiring employers to respect and accommodate their employees’ religious beliefs when they refuse to do so. Now neither Scott Kirby nor Joe Biden should be allowed to unilaterally elevate that vital protection of private employees.

to follow

Jeremy Diss is Special Counsel for Litigation and Communications for the First Liberty Institute, a non-profit law firm dedicated to protecting religious freedom for all Americans.

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