In Texas, a federal judge issued a ruling that temporarily blocks United Airlines from enforcing a vaccine mandate on all of its employees, as reported exclusively by Breitbart.
Judge Mark Pittman, of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, ruled on Tuesday that United cannot place all unvaccinated employees on unpaid leave, which the company had been planning to do as a form of punishment for not taking the vaccine. The ruling is a temporary restraining order that lasts until October 26th, giving more time for the case to proceed through the courts. His ruling also forbids the airline from denying an employee’s request for either religious or medical exemptions from the vaccine.
United had previously demanded that all of its nearly 67,000 nationwide employees either receive the vaccine by September 27th or face termination. The company also attempted to shut down all exemption requests after August 31st.
Judge Pittman’s ruling comes as a result of a class-action lawsuit that had been filed by D.C.-based law firm Schaerr Jaffe, which represented around 2,000 United employees who objected to the vaccine mandate.
During the litigation, United initially conceded some aspects of the mandate by agreeing to postpone the deadline to October 15th for all employees with exemptions; however, the company then reversed course on October 7th and filed a motion to dismiss the case altogether, claiming that the court had no jurisdiction to decide on the mandate. Judge Pittman thus issued the restraining order so as to give the court more time to respond to the challenge over jurisdiction.
“The Court now concludes it is necessary to issue this Temporary Restraining Order to avoid risking irreparable injury,” Judge Pittman wrote, “and to maintain the status quo in this case pending the Court’s hearing and resolution of Plaintiffs’ Motion for Preliminary Injunction.”
Although the ruling is only temporary and not necessarily a ruling on the legality of the mandate itself, the case as a whole represents a possible turning point in the ongoing national debate over vaccine mandates.