A lawsuit filed by seven Hawaiian Airlines employees seeking to overturn the airline’s vaccination policy was dismissed by a federal judge in the United States.
All seven had attempted to obtain a religious exemption from vaccination, but Hawaiian Airlines declined their requests, stating that their religious convictions were “merely a personal decision.”
Following a similar policy from United Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines CEO Peter Ingram first announced a staff vaccination certificate in August 2021.
Employees were needed to get vaccinated by November 2021, however, the airline extended the deadline to January 30, 2022, with a temporary testing regime.
Employees who had not been properly vaccinated at this point would either be sacked or given the option of taking a year of unpaid leave with no benefits. Around 95% of Hawaiian Air’s staff were properly vaccinated as of early January.
Some of the 5% of people who had not been vaccinated had applied for a religious or medical exemption.
A Hawaiian Airlines captain refused to be vaccinated and sought a religious exemption, claiming that “his body is a temple of the Holy Spirit and that, given explicit Scriptural commandments found in the Bible, it should not be altered by an unwanted incursion.”
“Her body was a temple of the Holy Spirit, and as a result, God had commanded her not to take the vaccine,” a flight attendant added.
A First Officer with Hawaiian Airlines for over ten years has refused the vaccine, claiming that it would be “ungrateful for God’s favor of natural immunity.”
Hawaiian Airlines declined religious and medical exemptions in each case and gave the employees an ultimatum. If you don’t get vaccinated, you can lose your job.
The group had requested U.S. District Judge Jill Otake to grant a temporary restraining order against Hawaiian Airlines so that the mandate could not be implemented.
Judge Otake, on the other hand, dismissed the case on Wednesday, saying that other courts had already thoroughly examined the same issues and had concluded that job loss as a result of a vaccine mandate does not constitute “irritable harm” each time.
“At this point in the pandemic, the soundness of vaccination as a tool to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and to prevent serious illness and death cannot be reasonably disputed,” Judge Otake noted in his ruling.