North Texas U.S. District Judge Mark Pittman denied a preliminary injunction to the employees of United Airlines who were seeking relief from negative employment actions taken by the company due to the COVID-19 vaccine requirements. Now the employees are appealing to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in New Orleans.
The employees, who sought religious and medical exemptions from the mandate, originally filed suit in September seeking relief. Pittman initially granted a temporary restraining order against United on October 12, preventing it from placing any employee on unpaid leave if that employee was granted a religious or medical exemption.
On October 20, before the expiration of the temporary restraining order, Pittman required the parties to engage in mediation. A joint mediation report filed with the court on November 2 stated that no settlement had been reached by the parties.
The court entered an order on November 8 denying the employees’ request for a preliminary injunction. Pittman pointed out in his order that the lawsuit was not directed at the vaccine mandate itself but more specifically argued that United has not reasonably accommodated employees seeking exemptions and may have retaliated against them.