Earlier today I wrote about United’s expanded mask mandate, which now requires passengers as young as two to wear masks not just onboard aircraft, but in the airport. United is also warning employees that they too must respect United’s strict new mask requirements.
Warning: United Employees Who Do Not Wear Masks Face Termination
Kate Gebo, United’s Executive Vice President of Human Resources and Labor Relations, issued a stern warning in a note to employees concerning the mandatory mask policy:
“If an employee violates this policy, they are subject to discipline up to and including termination.”
The memo reveals that “not everyone is wearing a mask when they should be.” It also stresses why it is important, even for those who may have doubts:
“If you believe that the risks from the pandemic are minimal to you, know this: even if you experience a mild case of COVID-19, you can pass it along to someone else for whom the disease will turn out to be severe or fatal.”
Just as it does for customers, United will make exceptions for those medically unable to wear a mask (though a formal process is required). But it warns employees that unions are onboard with the mandatory mask requirement, noting the common goal of protecting employees and customers.
“If an employee is medically unable to wear a mask, they can participate in our Reasonable Accommodation Process to determine whether we can provide a reasonable accommodation. But if you are not exempt and you do not wear a mask, the policy is very straightforward. Our partners in each of our labor unions support this effort, as well, because it protects all of us.”
As it turns out, unions are not onboard. The Association of Flight Attendants plans to file a grievance against any unilateral action that would shortcut the contractual-based removal process.
The best leaders lead by example. United could not afford the “do as I say, not as I do” approach any longer and has warned employees they must also follow mask protocol. Although firing an employee for not wearing a masks seems harsh, the threat underscores how seriously United is taking its mask mandate.
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image: United Airlines