Federal Court Nixes Vaccine Mandate, Citing Religious Liberty

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In a case involving United Airlines’ vaccine mandate, a federal court denied a request for rehearing. One judge accused the company of “coerc[ing]” its employees to violate their religious beliefs.

The Fifth Circuit Judges, widely regarded as the most conservative federal court in the country, voted 13-4 to deny a rehearing on Thursday. United Airlines also requested that the court deny a request to vacate an opinion of the panel from February. This opinion held that the mandate caused irreparable harm, and sent the case back to the district court.

Trump-appointed Judge James Ho wrote a concurring opinion. He criticized the airline for creating “crisis in conscience” for its workers and warned of a new wave of corporatism within the United States that seeks out to inflict its cultural value on Americans.

Ho stated that mandating employees who have religious objections to vaccines “were created using aborted foetus tissue” or putting them on indefinite unpaid leaves is “obvious irreparable harm” as it “press[ures] employees into violating their faith.”

Employers who don’t agree with your religious beliefs can place you on unpaid indefinite leave. This is clearly an adverse employment action that can be brought under Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII of Title VII. You have clearly suffered an irreparable injury when your employer forces you to abandon your faith to get your job back. If it were a mere loss of money, the injury would be completely reparable with money damages.

It’s not. It’s about a loss in faith. It’s about a loss of faith. To keep your job, you are being coerced to give up your faith. In this situation, no amount of damages is reasonable. You must be a savage to your faith in order to keep your job. What would it cost to give up your faith for a job?

United Airlines had one the most stringent coronavirus vaccination requirements in the country, even when compared with other airlines. The airline informed its 67,000 U.S. employees last August that they would need to be vaccinated or risk being fired. United reported that approximately 96 percent of employees followed the mandate. However, several hundred people who refused to comply were fired. Nearly 2,200 employees were granted religious and medical exemptions. However, the company gave them “reasonable accommodation”, by putting them on unpaid leaves and removing their medical benefits.

An ongoing lawsuit was filed over the mandate. Six United Airlines employees filed a lawsuit against the company in September 2021 over the mandate. The suit was on behalf of 2,200 people who sought exemptions. They claimed that the company had violated Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964 (ADA) and discriminated against them based upon their religious beliefs and health conditions.

The case is now in the hands District Judge Mark Pittman who is also a Trump appointee. The airline permitted unvaccinated employees to return to work on March 28. They cited a “steep decrease” in coronavirus cases to justify the policy change.

Ho stressed that courts should hold corporations accountable, no less than individuals.

Corporations are not like people. Corporations are not people. However, they can follow the law and also violate it. Corporations can also do more by coordinating and combining human efforts. Corporations can have a greater effect on society than individuals. Corporations can do far more good than most individuals, and cause much more harm. Therefore, corporations should be held accountable for violating the law by courts, just like individuals.

Ho also pointed out that this case was not “pathbreaking” because of the way law is applied, but because of “industry behavior.”

Ho outlined a hypothetical scenario in which an employer doesn’t care about employee productivity and “insists you abandon certain religious beliefs that he finds offensive,” whether it be abortion, marriage or sexuality or anything else.

Ho also cited Woke, Inc.’s Inside Corporate America’s Social Justice Scam as an example of how “companies use market power to make moral laws, which they effectively prevent. . . He wrote:

Today’s point is less ambitious. We now know what this new corporate trend does to employees. It is violating religious beliefs of workers all over the country. These injuries can be irreparable in cases like these. So, unlike the dissenting party, I am grateful that the court took the action it did today.