Three CNN employees dismissed for coming to work without being vaccinated

The Covid-19 vaccine is mandatory for anyone working in the field, in contact with other employees or face to  face  in  CNN offices ,  according to an internal memo that has leaked to the press.

CNN announced to its staff, Thursday, August 5, that three employees had been sacked for violating the channel’s health policy and coming to work without being vaccinated against Covid-19 , according to American media. 

In an internal memo emailed to staff and leaked to the press, CNN chairman Jeff Zucker explained that the channel was told three of its employees showed up to the office unvaccinated last week. All three, he said, have been “fired”.  The document does not specify the names or the positions held by the employees. “Let me be clear: we have a zero tolerance policy in this regard,” he said in excerpts from the memo tweeted by Oliver Darcy, a CNN reporter.

The vaccine is mandatory for anyone working in the field, in contact with other employees or face to face in CNN offices, the president of the company said in this email. In May, the US federal government ruled that employers could legally require staff in the workplace to be vaccinated against Covid-19. Tech giants including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all said their employees could get vaccinated before returning to face-to-face work.

CNN has fired three of its employees for coming to work unvaccinated, reported the Associated Press (AP) on Friday morning, citing an internal company memo sent by the US news channel chief Jeff Zucker to the terminated staff. “Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this,” the memo read, referring to the media organisation’s strict stance on the coronavirus disease (Covid-19)-related protocols.

The CNN memo, first obtained by AP, was later tweeted by media reporter Oliver Darcy. The organisation, however, offered no official details on the firing.

CNN has left most of its offices open, that employees are free to attend on a voluntary basis. However, masks are mandatory in the Atlanta, Washington, and Los Angeles offices when people are not eating, drinking, or in an enclosed private space. Even in offices where mask-wearing is not mandated, people should do what feels comfortable to them “without any fear of retaliation or judgment from co-workers,” Zucker highlighted in the memo.

Vaccines are mandatory, whether the employees report to the office or are out on the field (where they might come in contact with others), said Zucker in the internal company memo to his staff members. While proof of vaccination has currently been left to the honour system, that may change in the upcoming weeks, he said.

The CNN chief’s strict reminder comes at a time when the United States is dealing with rampant vaccine hesitancy, even in Covid-19 hotspots like the state of Wyoming. Viral videos of people having meltdowns over masks are commonplace, and in many parts of the United States, it is not uncommon for two complete strangers to confront each other publicly over the issue of wearing masks or getting a shot of vaccine.

CNN is currently planning a company-wide return to the office on September 7, but it might be delayed until at least early to mid-October, reported AP, adding that more than a third of news staff members have already returned.

Three employees at CNN have been fired for violating the network’s coronavirus policy by coming into the office unvaccinated, according to US media reports.

In an internal memo emailed to staff Thursday and obtained by several US media outlets, CNN President Jeff Zucker said that in the past week the company had become aware of three employees who came to work unvaccinated. All three were “terminated”.

“Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this,” he said in snippets of the memo tweeted by CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy.

His memo did not specify the fired employees’ names, positions or office locations. CNN did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

The network had been relying on an honor system that required workers to be jabbed but did not demand they show proof. But Zucker said that may change going forward.

Inoculations are mandatory for anyone reporting in the field, working with any other employees or entering the offices, he reportedly said in the memo.

In May, the United States federal government said it was legal for employers to require staff physically entering the workplace to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Tech giants including Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all said they will require employees to get jabbed before returning to their US offices.

They are among several major US employers that have recently revised their virus policies, vaccine mandates or return-to-office dates as the fast-spreading Delta variant fuels another surge of Covid-19 cases.

In his note to staff, Zucker said CNN will postpone its company-wide September 7 return-to-office date likely until some time in October.

Roughly one-third of the network’s American newsroom staff are currently using the offices on a voluntary basis, he said.

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