Stand up for the facts!
Our only agenda is to publish the truth so you can be an informed participant in democracy.
We need your help.
I would like to contribute
If Your Time is short
- President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for federal workers applies to companies that have contracts with the United States government.
- Southwest announced on Oct. 4 that it would follow the federal vaccine directive, saying that employees "must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or be approved for a religious, medical or disability accommodation, by Dec. 8, 2021, to continue employment with the airline."
- On Oct. 12, Southwest’s CEO said in a television interview that the airline won’t fire employees over the mandate, and that it will help workers with getting an “accommodation,” such as a religious or medical exemption.
- Employees have until Nov. 24 to submit proof of vaccination or request an exemption. But the CEO and a spokesperson said if an exemption is not approved by Dec. 8, employees will still be allowed to work for the airline and must adhere to safety protocols for the unvaccinated.
As U.S. airlines tell their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus or risk getting fired, one company says it won’t terminate its unvaccinated workers, according to a Facebook post.
The post is an image of text claiming Southwest Airlines "will no longer terminate employees over the mandate.""
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
But in this case, the post is accurate.
Most major airlines in the United States are requiring employees to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. The moves followed President Joe Biden’s announcement in July that federal government employees and contractors would be required to verify their vaccination status. Many airlines are considered federal contractors, and Southwest has worked with the government to fly military personnel and mail for the U.S. Postal Service.
Southwest announced on Oct. 4 that it would follow Biden's vaccine directive, saying in a statement that employees "must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or be approved for a religious, medical or disability accommodation, by Dec. 8, 2021, to continue employment with the airline."
Eight days later, in an interview with "Good Morning America," Southwest CEO Gary Kelly said the company will follow Biden’s order, but won’t terminate any of its employees if they choose not to get vaccinated.
"We’re not going to fire any employees over this. We are urging all of our employees to get vaccinated," Kelly said. "If they can’t get vaccinated, we are urging them to seek an accommodation."
The company said in a statement to PolitiFact that it "does not want anyone to lose their job over this mandate." Employees have until Nov. 24 to submit proof that they are fully vaccinated or else request a religious or medical exemption. But according to comments Kelly made Oct. 21 in the company’s third-quarter earnings call, neither that deadline nor the federal government’s Dec. 8 deadline for contractors will result in Southwest workers losing their jobs.
"We're not going to fire anybody who doesn't get vaccinated," Kelly said. "Nobody is going to lose their job on December the 9th if we're not perfectly in compliance."
Brandy King, a Southwest spokeswoman, told NPR it wanted to give "adequate time" for employees whose exemptions weren't granted after the deadline passes to get fully vaccinated.
Under Biden's order, unvaccinated individuals can continue to work as long as they wear a face-covering, physically distance themselves from other employees and customers, and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Meanwhile, United Airlines announced Oct. 13 that it was terminating 232 employees who refused to get vaccinated or seek an exemption by the company’s Sept. 28 deadline.
A Facebook post claims that Southwest Airlines will no longer fire its employees who choose to remain unvaccinated against COVID-19.
The company announced in early October that employees must be vaccinated or seek an exemption from the vaccine to continue employment.
However, the company’s CEO later said that no one will be fired over the vaccine mandate, and that the airline will encourage unvaccinated workers to seek an "accommodation." Employees whose exemptions have not been processed or approved by Dec. 8 will remain employed, and the company will adhere to COVID-19 safety protocols as it encourages its unvaccinated workers to get the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the company’s spokesperson and its CEO.
We rate this claim True.
Facebook post, Oct. 13, 2021
Archive.Today, Oct. 13, 2021 Facebook post, Oct. 15, 2021
PolitiFact, "Southwest, airline pilots union deny claims that anti-vaccine walkouts prompted cancellations," Oct. 11, 2021
CBS News, "Nearly all major airlines mandate COVID vaccine for employees," Oct. 11, 2021
Associated Press, "Southwest is latest airline to mandate vaccines for workers," Oct. 4, 2021
YouTube, Southwest CEO speaks out after canceled flights l GMA, Oct. 12, 2021
Email with Southwest Airlines, Oct. 19, 2021
Nasdaq, "United Airlines Terminates 232 Workers For Not Taking Covid Vaccine," Oct. 13, 2021
Business Insider, Southwest Airlines CEO says unvaccinated employees won't lose their jobs, despite a federal mandate, Oct. 21, 2021
Read About Our Process
In a world of wild talk and fake news, help us stand up for the facts.