UNITED STATES: U.S. news network CNN has sacked three employees who violated company policy by going to office unvaccinated against the COVID-19 virus, U.S. media.
It is one of the firsts for a U.S. firm to fire its staff for breaching the company vaccination mandate.
It has been legal since May in the U.S. for firms to require employees to be vaccinated.
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CNN chief Jeff Zucker told staff members of the firing in a memo sent on Thursday which was seen by several U.S. media outlets after its contents were first tweeted by CNN media reporter Oliver Darcy.
“Vaccination is mandatory for anyone reporting in the field, working with any other employees or going into an office,” Zucker said in the memo.
“Let me be clear — we have a zero-tolerance policy on this,” wrote Zucker, chairman of news and sports for WarnerMedia.
The CNN leader said that masks will be required in Atlanta, Washington and Los Angeles offices when people aren’t 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,” he said.
The CNN memo also said a planned Sept. 7 company-wide return to the office will be delayed until at least early to mid-October. Other media companies have been making similar decisions because of the rise in COVID cases; the AP told employees on Thursday that an expected Sept. 13 return has also been delayed.
Once offices fully re-open in the months ahead, many large firms – including Facebook and Google – say they will require employees to be vaccinated.
Major airlines Delta and United Airlines are requiring new employees to show proof of vaccination, while investment bank Goldman Sachs is requiring its employees to disclose their vaccination status, although it does not require staff to be vaccinated, AP reported.
President Joe Biden has ordered two million federal employees to show proof of vaccination or be subject to mandatory testing and mask-wearing.