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'Zero tolerance': CNN fires 3 employees for showing up to office unvaccinated

Written by Joydeep Bose | Edited by Meenakshi Ray, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Aug 06, 2021 06:37 AM IST

CNN has fired three of its staff members for coming to work unvaccinated, according to an internal memo accessed by news agencies. The media organisation's chief Jeff Zucker said every employee must remember that there is a "zero tolerance" policy when dealing with violations to Covid-19 protocols.

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.

CNN Center, the headquarters for CNN, in downtown Atlanta. (File Photo / AP)

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 chief Zucker has indicated that there will be very little leeway for employees when it comes to adherence to Covid-19 protocols.

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.

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.

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.

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