A Texas federal judge ruled on Monday that United Airlines can mandate its employees be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
In the 15-page ruling, U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman said that the plaintiffs, six United employees, had not established that they would suffer “imminent, irreparable harm” if he did not issue a preliminary injunction against the mandate.
“We’re pleased with the court’s decision today. We know that the best way to keep everyone as safe as we can is for everyone to get vaccinated, as nearly all United employees have chosen to do,” United said in a statement to The Hill.
The ruling is a victory for United, which in early August became the first U.S. airline to require all employees be vaccinated.
Six employees sued to stop the mandate in September, arguing that United wasn’t consistent in applying its rules for medical and religious exemptions and claiming that the company had discriminated against those who had.
In mid-October, Pittman granted a temporary restraining order barring United from denying its employees religious or medical exemptions, and from placing employees who have those exemptions on unpaid leave. The order was extended on Oct. 25 to expire on Nov. 8.
“Ultimately, however, it is not for the Court to decide if United’s vaccine mandate is bad policy,” Pittman wrote in his ruling on Monday. “Rather, it is the Court’s role to determine if Plaintiffs carried their burden to obtain a preliminary injunction.”
Pittman’s ruling covers roughly 2,000 employees who were approved for medical or religious exemptions, the company said. Employees who do not take a non-customer-facing role will be placed on leave.
Monday’s ruling comes as private employers with at least 100 employees get ready to comply with President BidenJoe BidenNicaragua’s Ortega set to win election amid international criticism Rep. Gosar posts anime video showing him striking Biden, Ocasio-Cortez Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by ExxonMobil — Activists cry foul over COP26 draft MORE’s executive order to get vaccinated or undergo frequent testing, which takes effect Jan. 4.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals temporarily halted the order on Saturday, citing “grave and statutory and constitutional concerns” with the mandate.