The coronavirus pandemic has brought many threats to personal liberty, but the greatest of all are vaccine mandates. However, it looks like they may not hold up in court — and that’s a good sign for freedom.
A federal judge blocked a United Airlines vaccine mandate Tuesday, Breitbart reported. The Texas district court issued a temporary restraining order against the mandate in response to a class-action lawsuit on behalf of some 2,000 employees.
United had threatened to terminate employees who did not get the shot or secure a proper exemption. Moreover, those who sought exemptions for medical or religious reasons were told they’d be put on administrative leave and their benefits halted for up to six years or until the airline deemed conditions safe for the unvaccinated to return to work.
Now, United has been prevented from imposing the mandate on its 67,000 employees in the U.S. until the case is settled. This is a small victory for the employees and may have ramifications for other such mandates as the first lawsuit of its kind.
“It is unconscionable to force any person to undergo a medical treatment that they object to as a matter of faith,” Ken Blackwell of the American Constitutional Rights Union said. “When so many other nations recognize that there is no medical reason for people with natural immunity to take a vaccine, it is essential that America lead the way to protect our citizens’ rights on that front also,” he added.
United was the first airline to impose a vaccine mandate on its employees. In another controversial step, the company has also required unvaccinated employees to don N95 or KN95 respirator masks until the litigation is cleared up, a demand some say puts wearers not properly trained and fitted at risk of health problems.
Southwest Airlines, which followed suit in implementing vaccine mandates, made headlines over the weekend after nearly 2,000 flights were canceled over a two-day period, according to The Hill. Although the airline blamed bad weather rather than a rumored sick-out, the cancellations only occurred for Southwest and not other airlines.
Mask mandates were not popular, but requiring employees to get a medical procedure has caused many to draw the line in the sand. If employees are successfully stripped of their bodily autonomy for COVID-19, there’s no stopping employers from doing the same for anything else.