FORT WORTH, Texas — United Airlines’ vaccine policy is aimed at the state of Texas, an attorney representing employees suing the company said Wednesday.
The policy was “certainly” aimed at the state and the airline employees living there, attorney Gene Schaerr of Washington, DC, law firm Schaerr Jaffe commented during a preliminary hearing at the federal courthouse downtown.
Six airline workers are suing the company in a class-action lawsuit on behalf of up to 2,000 employees over its coronavirus vaccine mandate, alleging it violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by discriminating against them based on their religious and medical exemptions.
The hearing took place one day after a federal judge in Texas, Judge Mark Pittman, issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the airline, blocking it from imposing a vaccine mandate against any of its employees in a nationwide class-action lawsuit.
Breitbart News reported:
According to the judicial order, which could be the first of its kind in the country against a coronavirus vaccine mandate, United Airlines is prohibited from placing employees with religious and medical exemptions on unpaid leave until October 26 while litigation continues. The judge also prohibited the airline from denying any employee requests for religious or medical exemptions. Previously, the airline did not allow employees to apply for an exemption after August 31.
“The case is one of the largest of its kind in the United States and could arguably create a domino effect and lead to other vaccine mandate cases across the country if the judge leans in favor of the airline’s employees,” the article continued.
In Judge Pittman’s courtroom Wednesday, plaintiff David Sambrano, a United Airlines captain, told the court he was able to perform his duties without taking the vaccine and so far had complied with the company’s coronavirus rules.
His response to the vaccine mandate was to apply for a religious exemption having to do with abortion and describe himself as an evangelical.
“The vaccines I’ve researched, I choose not to put that in my body,” Sambrano explained.
Gov. Greg Abbott (R-TX) issued an executive order Monday barring any entity from compelling a person to receive the coronavirus vaccine.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is safe, effective, and our best defense against the virus, but should remain voluntary and never forced,” Abbott said in a written message.
The case is Sambrano v. United Airlines, No. 4:21-cv-1074 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas.