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CNN fires three staffers for working at its New York headquarters without a COVID-19 vaccination

A man in a suit coat and glasses stands in a plaza
CNN President Jeff Zucker outside of the company’s headquarters at Hudson Yards in New York.
(Jennifer S. Altman / For The Times)

CNN has dismissed three employees for entering its New York headquarters without being vaccinated for protection against the COVID-19 virus, according to a memo from the cable news network’s president, Jeff Zucker.

“In the past week, we have been made aware of three employees who were coming to the office unvaccinated,” said the memo sent to CNN staff Thursday and obtained by the Times. “All three have been terminated. Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this. 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.”

The names of the dismissed employees were not revealed, according to two staffers at the WarnerMedia unit.

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Vaccinated employees have been allowed to return to CNN offices on a voluntary basis. They have used the honor system to confirm their vaccination status through the company’s pass-card system and have not been asked to show proof. Zucker said that may change in the weeks ahead.

“Cuomo Prime Time” did not cover an investigation of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the biggest news story of the day.

Zucker also said CNN is delaying a formal return date to the office, located at Hudson Yards on the west side of Manhattan.

Employees were expected to return Sept. 7, but due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases, largely caused by unvaccinated individuals, the date has been pushed to mid-October.

Companies throughout the country are taking a harder line on allowing unvaccinated individuals to work. More than 150 people at Houston Methodist resigned or were fired after the hospital system required a COVID-19 vaccine as a condition of employment.

A number of media organizations — including CBS News, where staffers work closely side by side — require visitors to show proof of vaccination before entering a company facility.

About a third of CNN’s news personnel are working on-site after more than a year of working remotely because of the pandemic. Employees are allowed to return to the office two weeks after completing the vaccination process.


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