The question of whether employees of the Steamship Authority can be required to be vaccinated will be decided in federal court after the boat line exercised its right to move the dispute out of state court.

In a notice filed late Monday in U.S. District Court, attorneys for the Steamship Authority said an action brought by 11 of its employees in Barnstable superior court raised constitutional issues that were appropriately heard at the federal level.

The employees claim they are being discriminated against for their firmly held religious objections to the vaccine, violating their rights under the First and Fourteenth amendments.

The move canceled a hearing that was to be held Tuesday in Hyannis on a request by the employees to block the Steamship Authority from firing them if they refuse to be vaccinated.

The Steamship Authority announced in January that it would require all of its approximately 700 employees to show they have had at least one dose of the vaccine. Employees were given until Wednesday, Feb. 16, to show they were fully vaccinated or face termination.

The boat line uses the Centers for Disease Control definition of fully vaccinated, which does not require booster shots.

The 11 employees went to court last Friday seeking an injunction against the boat line and its director of human resources, Janice Kennefick, to prevent the vaccine mandate from being enforced.

In documents filed with the superior court, the plaintiffs claim they will suffer irreparable injury and an estimated $181,500 in lost wages “due to loss of fundamental constitutionally-guaranteed rights” if the mandate is enforced.

As part of the court filing, the plaintiffs sought and received a temporary restraining order. A hearing had been set for Tuesday until the matter was moved to federal court.

In a similar case brought by Boston city employees, a Suffolk superior court judge denied a preliminary injunction, but that case is now under review by the Massachusetts Appeals Court.

The employees bringing the action against the SSA are listed as: Capt. Albert Brox, Kim Fernandes, James Bondarek, Andrea Sheedy, Paul Menton, Christopher Ovaska, Mark Anderson, Timothy Richardson, Steven Ennis, Sonia Simoneau and Jeffrey D’Amario. They are represented by Hyannis attorney Patrick Daubert.