A Boston-based United Airlines flight attendant, who was granted a religious exemption to the airline’s Covid-19 vaccine mandate, is suing the carrier in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts because the form of her exemption was unpaid leave and she reports she did not have income for six months as a result.
She contends that she had a sincerely held religious belief that prevented her from becoming vaccinated. This is not in dispute. United granted her exemption,
Ms. Myers sincerely believes that her body is not to be altered in any way other than through means by which God created or through scientifically proven, safe, and effective manmade and necessary medical intervention. To consume or knowingly inject anything else into her body would constitute a sin and prevent her ability from one day, going to Heaven and sharing that Place with God.
In her filing made Wednesday she suggests she would be unable to go to Heaven when she dies if she became vaccinated – somewhat oddly only vaccines which are not “scientifically proven, safe, and effective” are precluded. It’s unclear what medical standard the Lord uses in judging this and whether that standard differs from the one employed by FDA and CDC scientists.
The crewmember also uses her suit to litigate the effectiveness of the vaccines themselves. United’s view is that they had a right to protect their employees and their operation – that they didn’t want crew spreading the virus amongst each other or getting sick from customers.
- United had a good faith belief that the best way to keep employees alive was vaccination, and that vaccinations would keep the airline more reliable.
- Shortly after the airline imposed its own mandate the federal government imposed one that would have applied to the airline both as an employer and as a government contractor, though the legal ability of the administration to do so was limited by Supreme Court review. Of course the federal government did not prohibit paying an employee who was deemed exempt, but that would have only encouraged more exemptions which itself would have harmed the airline’s operation.
Here’s what the Auburn University grad’s suit has to say about the vaccines themselves:
Specifically, it is not subject to reasonable dispute that vaccination against COVID- 19 fails to prevent the contraction or transmission of COVID-19; thus, an individual who is “fully vaccinated” is just as likely––if not more likely––to contract COVID-19 and transmit the virus than someone who is unvaccinated. And whereas an unvaccinated individual has already contracted COVID-19 and developed natural immunity and antibodies to the virus, a vaccinated person is up to twenty-seven times (27x) more likely to contract coronavirus and transmit it thereafter.
For someone who claims that the Lord commands them to follow science, this is quite something.
- When mRNA vaccines against Covid-19 were introduced in fall 2020, they very highly effective against symptomatic disease and also against spreading the virus. The spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 had not mutated very much yet compared to the original Wuhan strain against which the vaccines were targeting.
- As the virus mutated, and the vaccines continued to target the original strain (and then a mix of original and a new yet-outdated strain) their effectiveness against symptomatic disease and spread waned – but were still more effective than not being vaccinated. They remained more effective against severe outcomes than against symptoms and spread.
- Official government agencies were wrong to ignore and discount protection from prior infection, including when considering immunization schedules. But the comparisons of natural immunity to vaccination in this suit are absurd (and indeed, don’t consider prior infection plus vaccination).
There’s little question that the government has failed to continue to treat Covid-19 as urgent, even long before lifting official emergencies. Vaccines should have been updated. New technologies should have been prioritized, such as fast-tracking research on using nasal delivery for boosters for the potential to regain sterilizing immunity.
And I agree with Live and Let’s Fly in opposition to government vaccine mandates though believe United ought to be able to impose them within the bounds of any collective bargaining limitations that may exist.
In the end this lawsuit isn’t about vaccines, or even religious freedom exemptions from employer policies – it’s what accommodations an employer must make once they recognize a religious freedom exemption.
- Were they required to allow her to continue to work (with appropriate masking, distancing, etc.)?
- Were they required to pay her if she did not continue to work?
To the first, I’d argue that unvaccinated she posed a greater risk to co-workers (and customers) than if she’d been vaccinated – but there was no vaccination requirement for customers and every adult at the point of this leave had the opportunity to become vaccinated and protect themselves if they’d wished. The lack of vaccination meant mostly putting herself at incremental risk. There were many more unvaccinated passengers on many flights than crew!
Towards that end it would have been reasonable and least restrictive to offer an alternative accommodation, though it’ll be up to the courts to determine whether that was required. If it wasn’t required then her next-best option should have been to seek alternate employment if she didn’t want to wait for the mandate to be lifted to return to work (not a legal opinion).
(HT: Live and Let’s Fly)
If you cannot do your job because of your deeply held religious beliefs you need to find a job that is compatible with your religion. Period. End of story.
I am tired of being told I am not entitled to the same rights as St. Karen here. Religion is a CHOICE. And in this country our politicians have decided that people are not entitled to the legal right to make their own choices.
If she is unwilling to meet the employment requirements she needs to quit.
Ms Myers needs to remember.. not by works of righteousness which we have done, but by His Grace are we saved, Galatians 2:16. Stop using Jesus as a prop for your fear. You work 40,000ft in the air and your worried about a vaccine? LoL. Its not about you only dear.
She was right as were all those that refused. They aren’t dying or th jab and it’s side effects like thousands are today. A jab that ended up being worthless.
We told you so.
Yeah, there was also an epidemic of people discovering “religious beliefs” that suddenly occurred when people realized they could use this to get out of being vaccinated. Amazing the number of people who had a conversion to deep beliefs they never mentioned before….
I highly doubt anyone claiming this is sincere, but I acknowledge I cannot prove she may not be one of those “sudden conversions.”
Too bad for her that it was well established (well before covid) that if you refused a work requirement for “religious” beliefs you would only be accommodated if it did not impose an undue hardship on your employer. And for covid vaccines especially, your protection was that they would hold your job without pay until the covid emergency and/or vaccine requirements were over.
Anyway, since we are in the VFTW comment section, let’s look forward to the parade of further “insightful” comments are from the rabid anti- vax, covid deniers…
@SOBE ER DOC
Enough with your victim complex and grievance politics. You suffer from an oppression delusion. Nobody is taking away your “rights”. People like you want to impose special rights on yourselves at the expense of other people.
You are the Karen’s.
It is scary when people believe they can speak authoritatively on matters that they know very little about. As I recall it, it was this site the promoted the notion that masks were useless and that many of the government’s mitigatory measures to “flatten the curve” until effective vaccines could be found were useless and interfering with “freedom.”
To blame the “government” for not doing enough when without the government’s intervention that led to the development of effective vaccines at record speed the pandemic would claimed many more deaths is simply ridiculous. The virus was mutating fast and unpredictably, so effective vaccines against “mutants” did briefly fail to keep pace, but there was nothing more that the “government” could have done about it other than to keep supporting private enterprises like Pfizer, which continued to update their vaccines as fast as they could based on scientific data, which led to a “bivalent” vaccines that are now effective against both earlier and new strains.
The flight attendant’s case will be laughed out of courts as meritless. UA is a private company that can have its own rules, which anyone employee that did not agree with was free to quite over. It;s as simple as that. There is no need to revisit the canard about the “government’s” awful, terrible response when without the government many more would have died for sure.
@DCS “As I recall it, it was this site the promoted the notion that masks were useless”
I never said that. Cloth masks were largely useless, I was an advocate of N95 masks but not of mandates.
“To blame the “government” for not doing enough when without the government’s intervention that led to the development of effective vaccines at record speed”
You’re missing the point. I was a big fan of Operation Warp Speed, and my criticism is that this intensity did not continue.
” The virus was mutating fast and unpredictably, so effective vaccines against “mutants” did briefly fail to keep pace, but there was nothing more that the “government” could have done about it ”
False, the government delayed interminably in determining which vaccine formulas they’d endorse (remember, Pfizer was even manufacturing at-risk because the government was too slow) and they… more or less punted, settling on a mix of original strain (which may have made boosters less effective thanks to antigenic seniority) and an already-outdated strain.
@Gary — I will not engage in this “debate.” This site was a magnet for all kinds of crazy ideas related to pandemic to which you gave voice. It’s time to stop claiming that you can speak authoritatively about any of it even in hindsight.
BTW, for a change, back your claims with authoritative information or data. You can get away with repeating ad nauseam and without any proof that every hotel loyalty program but Hilton Honors “guarantees” their top elites suites upgrades. Science, an area I know a thing or two about, does not work that. One needs facts. Conspiracy theories do not qualify as “science”.
hope she wins HUGE, the level of authoritarian control shown by state and local governments during the illegal lock downs was shocking
Hope she wins a fortune and a precedent is set against forcing others to get injected with experimental potions that did NOT keep ANYONE from spreading the vid and did NOT keep ANYONE from contracting the vid.
@Jojo – this wasn’t a government mandate, it was United’s (which preceded government mandates)
Loool Gary coping and thinks the vaccine actually did was it was advertised to do. If you had a braincell, it was advertised to prevent catching covid and the goalposts were moved when people started getting sick even tho they got the jab.
private company, private rules.
Unless religious freedom overrules what a private company can mandate for its employees.
Only one without a braincell [sic] would make such a stupid statement…
Even if religion isn’t a choice there are almost no religions that actually object to vaccines. And I don’t believe you can pick and choose what aspects to follow–if you want to claim an exemption because your religion forbids X then you must reject all X, not just the X that’s convenient for what you want. (For example, if you reject Covid vaccines because of fetal cell testing then you must reject pretty much all modern medicines for the same reason.)
As a general rule I don’t believe anyone should be able to claim a religious exemption for an aspect of the job they knew existed. Thus no pharmacists refusing birth control etc, but when it’s a solid aspect of the religion and the aspect of the job was not known at the time they took the job then I’ll consider it. A Muslim gets a job as a cook at the Great Steak restaurant as he noted the only meat on the menu is beef. Down the road they start serving pork–I’d be inclined to allow him to have someone else cook the pork dishes so long as there are multiple cooks on duty, but I would not be inclined to require the restaurant to have multiple cooks on duty.
In this case flight attendants travel. Even if most routes do not require vaccines it is possible for them to be required. Thus she knew, no accommodation should be given. And even if you don’t accept this I don’t believe a worker should get paid for work they refuse to do–the airline did all it needed to.
She chose to not get the vaccine which is designed to protect everyone she comes into contact with… That’s her decision.. The airline chose to follow the US guidelines and terminated her.. that’s their perogative.. Now go away.
Meh…..she probably cheerfully threw 3-year-olds autistic children off of planes.
There is no victim complex here. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I am completely done trying to be respectful and civil toward ill-informed, science-denying, hate-mongering folks such as yourself who are well-versed in practicing the fine art of gas lighting but can’t back your positions up with data with peer-accepted scientific rigor.
First, it’s “I have every right to subject everyone else to disease and death because I’m a Christian.” Next, it’s “I have every right to refuse to provide service to homosexuals on my flights because I am a Christian.” Then, it’s “I have every right to refuse to provide service to a woman who is traveling to exercise her reproductive rights because I’m a Christian.” Then, it’s “I have every right to refuse to serve Muslims and Jews on my flights, because I’m a Christian.” Where does it end @Chad, where does it end? You tell me.
Back to the reference story and why what I am saying applies…UA is a business that has every right to set minimum conditions of employment that ensure the health and safety of their customers and employees. Consider this, what would stop an employee from suing UA if they contracted COVID, claiming that UA failed to protect its employees from unvaccinated employees and customers? This FA’s religion is her business, and she is entitled to believe whatever she wants…I could care less. That does not mean she is entitled to special consideration that puts others at risk.
@JOJO If you are so concerned about authoritarian governmental behavior I bet you are furious about what is happening to Disney down in Florida. It’s horrible when governments forces one to wear masks or get vaccines or to keep their mouths shut when they think the government is overstepping.
Amazingly, ignorant Gary continues to promote the lie that the experimental gene therapies worked to stop transmission, even though they were never designed or tested to do so. Heck, even the companies producing them have admitted this.
Also, we now know their efficacy in stopping someone from contracting the virus and mitigating symptoms is basically zero and yet, he still advances this falsehood. The forces driving this charade would label Gary as a “useful idiot”.
You mean she refused an experimental vaccine that neither prevents you from getting the virus nor does it stop you from infecting others? The nerve!
Looking forward to her cleaning United’s clock in court as have most plaintiffs in similar lawsuits.
Yet another idiot wasting money on lawyers to relearn that Americans have a Constitutional right to public health protection, right enshrined in all State Constitutions and never preempted by the Federal Constitution just like the Founding Fathers designed. This is exactly what Republicans want: State rights and law and order.
It is lawsuit number one million on the subject, and none went anywhere.
I am sure the lawyers required upfront payment to take this on.
There is no right to public health protection enshrined in the Constitution. When will people learn the Constitution grants no individual rights?
First of all, vaccines do not prevent you from getting a virus, they help your body develop antibodies to fight it more effectively. Secondly, religion being about the lamest excuse one could use, it is her choice to follow it and it is not the airlines responsibility. If your religion conflicts with your job…guess what, get another job!
The airline acted on behalf of their employees and customers to help protect people and followed the best medical and scientific recommendations. I hope she doesn’t get a single penny. Oh, and please, could the airlines please place an asterisk besides all flights listed online where she will be a flight attendant, so I can be certain to NOT be on that flight. Thanks!
Now playing in courtroom near you: “The Return of Ambulance Chasers”…
Union employee. She didn’t want to work. She needs to try suing the federal government
Exactly. It’s not about government overreach, it’s about deciding their position is right.
> experimental gene therapies
Your continued use of this word is the equivalent of holding up a sign saying “I don’t know what I’m talking about”.
> There is no right to public health protection enshrined in the Constitution. When will people learn the Constitution grants no individual rights?
Article 1, Section 8. It specifically says to provide for the general welfare. The population isn’t an entity separate from those that make it up. Public health has long been considered a proper realm of government.
> Union employee. She didn’t want to work. She needs to try suing the federal government
How about suing the morons who told her to die on that hill?
Sorry, Loren, if I violated your delicate sensibilities. The jabs clearly meet the definition of “experimental gene therapies”, because that’s what they are.
Also, the Constitution does not guarantee a single individual right. That’s not its purpose. It serves as a check, admittedly it does a poor job, on government violating our natural rights. Time for a refresher course.
For something to be a gene therapy it would seem to me that a fundamental requirement be that it alter genes.
The Covid vaccines slip fake orders into the cell’s factories, they do not alter the genes.
All the unvaxxed flight attendants I work with are perfectly healthy. All the boosted have had covid at minimum twice to fours times and are now having bizarre, horrible health problems. Many died as well. The documents keep being released, so swallow the bitter pill, that you lined up and took an experiment. You were weak, and afraid. The doctors that can’t except the truth while their peers have seen the light are extremely dangerous. The ego getting in the way of rational, critical thinking skills, you must hate yourselves. I know all my coworkers are so jealous of me because they say it to my face after they confide their bizarre health problems since getting injected with thw spike protien. They all wish they never got it.
Obviously you don’t actually work with any flight attendants. There have been no damning documents released–most are total lies and the few are cherry-picking to draw false conclusions. (Yes, there have been multiple situations in which the vaxxed were more likely to die–but it’s because people at higher risk are more likely to be vaxxed. Control for demographics and you see the vaccine has a considerable protective effect.)
Loren, you are so greatly misinformed it’s quite amazing. The jabs, they aren’t vaccines, have been an abject failure and unfortunately, have caused much more harm, than good.
Cahn’t make this stuff up…
@James N — Any informed and dispassionate observer would tell you that the one who is hopelessly misinformed is you. A statement like
establishes you as a misinformed, uneducated, MAGA troll because anyone who knows the first thing about COVID vaccines would never make such an ignorant and embarrassing statement.
You’re a troglodyte and belong in a cave, not in front of a computer…
> Loren, you are so greatly misinformed it’s quite amazing. The jabs, they aren’t vaccines, have been an abject failure and unfortunately, have caused much more harm, than good.
Claiming a bunch of people have died from the vaccine doesn’t make it true. Where’s the scientific evidence?
No workee, no money, plain and simple.
God tells you not to adhere to company policy? Maybe your church can pay you?
Oh, you want FLIGHT PAY AND BENEFITS, like those who complied! That’s very different