United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby instigated bullying of unvaxxed employees, lawsuit alleges – LifeSite

(LifeSiteNews) — A lawsuit brought against United Airlines (UAL) by employees — who say the airline encouraged harassment and bullying by managers and co-workers against those who sought accommodations after declining to receive the COVID-19 “vaccine” for religious and medical reasons — alleges that CEO Scott Kirby, now famous for his cross-dressing, was the chief instigator of the unconscionable mistreatment within his company’s ranks.

“In late 2020, Kirby began trying to leverage [the COVID] crisis for United’s benefit by publicly discussing a potential vaccine mandate,” the court filing explains. “In January 2021, without telling his executive team beforehand, Kirby made national headlines by stating that United should mandate a COVID- 19 vaccine for its 60,000 employees.”

Employees who sought medical or religious exemptions from UAL’s mandate were soon treated as pariahs. They were sacrificed on the altar of Kirby’s quest to “advertise a 100% [employee] vaccination rate after deciding that marketing was more important than its employees’ civil rights.”

“United’s actions had their desired effect, as bullying and harassment became commonplace across United’s workforce,” the lawsuit states. “Ultimately, the record is clear that United’s employees felt free to criticize accommodated employees when they saw their CEO doing the same thing.”

In order to create a workplace that would coerce compliance, “Kirby even proposed requiring accommodated employees to walk around with special stickers on their badges broadcasting their vaccination status.”

Putting stickers on unvaccinated employees’ badges is “like the scarlet letter … Oh my goodness. Who are we???” asked one human resource employee who was taken aback by the CEO’s proposal. The extra question marks reflect the HR expert’s extreme alarm.

Despite causing some to recoil, many of those in HR who were responsible for processing accommodation requests had “heard Kirby’s message of ostracization and derision loud and clear. As United’s records show, the HR representatives responsible for reviewing accommodation requests felt free to mock and criticize those requests.”

The complaint offers examples of the mockery that went on behind the scenes:

  • One HR representative suggested that “[t]hese people are probably going to do what they have been doing … buying fake vaccine cards and adding it, or filing a ‘religious exemption’ … Our employees cannot be trusted[.]”
  • Another United employee responsible for reviewing accommodation requests called an employee’s request for a medical exemption “bullsh**” and assumed the condition was fabricated after this lawsuit was filed.
  • And yet another HR representative criticized an employee seeking a religious accommodation for “purchas[ing] a statue of [] Buddha from Amazon.”
  • “I want to know where ppl are getting these sham Drs to write them off for these alleged illness[es].”

Attorneys for the plaintiffs believe that these sorts of criticisms were “sufficiently pervasive that United’s senior leadership was aware of them.”

In a particularly disturbing example of coercion, UAL attempted to apply pressure to knuckle under to the demands of its COVID-19 vaccine mandate by appealing to the spouses of employees seeking accommodations, and it was done in a backhanded way.  “It wasn’t enough to pressure employees in the workplace, they also wanted employees considering an accommodation to be pressured at home.”

In August 2021, United conspicuously broadcast its employees’ vaccination status by sending postcards to the homes of those who had not yet provided proof of vaccination.

Kirk Limacher, vice president of HR Services, “insisted that they state, in clear ‘red text’ that ‘stand[s] out,’ that failing to be vaccinated will result in termination … he wanted to ensure that the “spouse not … miss [the warning].”

The brief also cites another example of UAL’s disdain for its unvaccinated employees: In the fall of 2021, Limacher sided with putatively intolerant, discriminatory vaccinated employees suggesting that they could refuse to fly with their unvaccinated co-workers.

“United cannot return the unvaccinated pilots to the cockpit because — aside from the various practical problems with testing and masking — we would face serious and widespread objections from the vaccinated pilots,” he said in a court filing, according to a CNN report. “In fact, the objections among our vaccinated pilots are so strongly held that many of them would simply refuse to fly with the accommodated pilots. The distractions and dissension this would cause in the workforce represent an unacceptable safety risk.”

CEO Kirby’s ‘hostility and utter contempt for his employees’ faith and health’

The court filing emphasizes Kirby’s role in creating an atmosphere of ostracization and derision among the company’s 60,000 U.S. employees:

United Airlines’ strategic company-wide campaign to coerce its employees to violate their religious beliefs and ignore their health. To accomplish this goal, United refused to provide any reasonable accommodations to its COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Instead, United told every employee who requested an accommodation — whether the employee requested a religious or medical accommodation and whether or not the employee was ‘customer facing’ — that they would be effectively terminated by being placed on indefinite, unpaid leave.

From the outset, United’s CEO Scott Kirby made clear that he would not allow United to provide any reasonable accommodation to its vaccine mandate, despite United’s legal obligations to do so. Kirby did not believe any such accommodations were necessary because, in his mind, United employees were making up their beliefs and “all [of a] sudden decid[ing] I’m really religious.” That disdain for United employees of faith flowed directly from Kirby to those in Human Resources charged with reviewing accommodation requests who followed their CEO’s lead and openly criticized the faith and medical conditions of employees seeking accommodations.

“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,” plaintiffs’ attorney Mark Paoletta from Schaerr Jaffe LLP told  “Kirby’s hostility and utter contempt for his employees’ faith and health are despicable and violates their civil rights, and he should be held accountable, both in the court of law and the court of public opinion.”

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