01/18/2024 / By Laura Harris
The “drag queen” CEO of United Airlines Scott Kirby and the company’s upper management have been accused of mocking employees who sought religious exemptions for the airline’s stringent Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine mandate.
Kirby, known for advocating diversity and inclusion in the airline industry, reportedly proposed treating those with religious accommodations differently than vaccinated employees.
United Airlines implemented one of the most stringent COVID-19 vaccine mandates in the private sector in August 2021, requiring its more than 60,000 employees in the United States to get vaccinated or face termination.
Approximately 96 percent of the company’s employees complied, but several hundred who refused were reportedly fired. Another 2,300 employees received religious and medical exemptions, but they were placed on unpaid leave and stripped of their health benefits.
A group of these employees who received exemptions filed a lawsuit against United Airlines, alleging violations of their rights under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Americans with Disabilities Act. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that the mandate inflicted irreparable harm and remanded the case to the district court.
The legal brief filed on Jan. 13 as part of an ongoing lawsuit against the airline states that Kirby warned employees considering religious accommodations to “be very careful” as “very few” would successfully navigate the exemption process. The CEO allegedly derided these employees, claiming that they were “all of a sudden deciding that I’m really religious.”
The documents suggest that Kirby set a “high bar” for accommodation requests, turning it into a “Scott-level initiative.” Higher-ups were reportedly instructed to emphasize the difficulty of obtaining exemptions, a move acknowledged to deliberately upset some employees.
“Making his plans clear, Kirby warned that anyone who applied for an accommodation was ‘putting [their] job on the line,'” the document stated.
The employees who were granted “reasonable accommodation” reported severe consequences, including mental anguish, financial distress and emotional hardship. Some faced the risk of homelessness, while others had to forgo a spouse’s cancer treatment.
Moreover, Kirby suggests that employees with religious exemptions must wear a special symbol on their badges. However, the airline’s legal team rejected the idea, citing potential conflict among the workforce. Surprisingly, some HR employees were reportedly taken aback, likening the proposal to the historical concept of the scarlet letter, where an alleged adulteress in Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel was marked to shame her for committing a perceived sin.
The controversy has sparked criticism from legal experts and union leaders.
For instance, Craig Symons, union president of the United Airlines branch of the Professional Airline Flight Control Association, reportedly expressed concerns that United was going “over the line” and attempting to institute a “purge of religious orthodoxy.”
Even Mark Paoletta from Schaerr Jaffe LLP, the attorney for the plaintiff, condemned Kirby’s actions.
“These employees love their jobs, and it’s appalling that United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby would try to force these good people to violate their faith or put their health at risk as a condition for being able to keep their jobs,” said Paoletta. “Kirby’s hostility and utter contempt for his employees’ faith and health are despicable and violate their civil rights, and he should be held accountable, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion.”
Captain Sherry Walker, co-founder of Airline Employees for Health Freedom, joined the criticism.
“Literally thousands of United Airlines employees lost their paycheck when they were illegally denied reasonable accommodations for their religious beliefs, hurting their ability to put food on the table and pay family medical bills because of CEO Scott Kirby’s punitive mandate, which we now learn arose from Kirby’s shocking disdain for people of faith.”
Learn more about COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine mandates in the U.S. at MedicalTyranny.com.
Watch this episode of the “Health Ranger Report” as Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, talks to Ed Dowd about how around 7,500 Americans have died or become disabled every day after the implementation of COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
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