United to bring back unvaccinated employees starting March 28

It also sought the dismissal of a case made against the mandate

United to bring back unvaccinated employees starting March 28

Unvaccinated employees of United Airlines will be reinstated to their previous jobs starting March 28, according to reports, in a reversal of what has been dubbed as the one of the strictest vaccine policies across the country.

Reuters reported that United issued a memo to staff saying that it plans to "welcome back those employees who have been out on an approved (accommodation) to their normal positions."

This covers about 2,200 workers who received vaccine-related accommodations, according to United's memo. These are staff members who were placed on temporary unpaid leave and were temporarily placed in other jobs.

United has fired about 200 employees who did not comply to the company's vaccine mandate, according to the company's chief executive officer Scott Kirby. A spokesperson told Reuters that there were no plans to rehire said workers.

The company attributed its move to the drop in COVID-19 cases in the United States, as well as the easing restrictions in the country. Kirby also said in January that United has not reported a casualty among unvaccinated individuals with COVID over the past eight weeks, which saw an Omicron-driven surge of cases.

However, the airline said that it would re-evaluate its safety protocols should another variant emerge or if the COVID-19 trends suddenly reverse course.

Read more: COVID-19: Should vaccine be mandatory for airline workers?

The move is a sudden turn for the strict vaccine mandate imposed by United Airlines to its employees, one of the firsts for major US airlines, and was also challenged in court.

A federal judge in November sided with the company's mandate, but an appellate court ruled that this should be reviewed in February.

CNBC reported that following the development over its vaccine mandate, United filed in court a motion to dismiss the appeal given that unvaccinated workers are set to return.

"In light of these changed circumstances, plaintiffs' preliminary-injunction motion is moot, and this Court should vacate the panel opinion and dismiss the appeal," the airline said in its filing as quoted by CNBC.

Vaccine mandates remain a divisive subject across the United States, especially for employers in the private sector. President Joe Biden moved to require major companies to come up with their own policies regarding the jabs before it was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court.

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