CNN fired three employees for coming into the office unvaccinated in violation of the network’s policy that employees must be vaccinated in order to return to work in person.
The terminations were revealed in a Thursday memo to employees from CNN network president Jeff Zucker that was obtained by The New York Times.
“EVERYONE from news, sports and studios who comes in now and going forward must be vaccinated. We have been clear about this for months, so there should be no confusion,” Zucker wrote in the internal memo.
“In the past week, we have been made aware of three employees who were coming to the office unvaccinated. All three have been terminated,” Zucker wrote. “Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this.”
CNN’s termination of the three employees is one of the first examples of a major company firing workers who violated the company’s vaccination mandate, the Times reported. Details on the fired employees, such as their names, which departments they were in, or how their vaccination status came to light, were not covered in the memo.
CNN terminated "three employees who were coming to the office unvaccinated," per memo from Jeff Zucker. "We have a zero-tolerance policy on this."
— Michael M. Grynbaum (@grynbaum) August 5, 2021
“Thus far, we have left proof of vaccination to an honor system,” the memo said, noting that CNN has so far not required employees to produce a vaccine card in order to come into the office.
Zucker’s memo warned that “in the weeks ahead, showing proof of vaccination may become a formal part of the WarnerMedia Passcard process.”
“Regardless, our expectations remain in place,” Zucker added.
“You need to be vaccinated to come to the office. And you need to be vaccinated to work in the field, with other employees, regardless of whether you enter an office or not. Period.”
CNN’s president encouraged all employees who are ready to return to in-person work to do so. More than a third of CNN’s domestic employees are already back in the office, Zucker said.
“I think it is fair to say that we are all feeling a mix of anticipation, anxiety, frustration, confusion, and exasperation. All of that is to be expected. We all have decisions to make that impact so many aspects of our lives. I get it. If nothing else, the resilience and perseverance you all have shown for 18 months now needs to continue a little bit longer. But we will get there. Continue to take care of yourselves and each other. And I will share more updates just as soon as we have them,” the memo concluded.
Many major companies including Facebook, Google, Disney, and Walmart have announced that employees must be vaccinated in order to return to in-person work. The Washington Post, owned by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, said that the newspaper will require proof of vaccination as a condition of employment.
More companies are mulling vaccination mandates since the country’s vaccination rate has slowed and cases have ticked up in some states.