CNN fired three employees who were not vaccinated against the coronavirus and came in to the office regularly, company president Jeff Zucker said in a memo on Thursday.
“Thus far, we have left proof of vaccination to an honor system. . . . It has not been mandatory to produce a vaccine card,” Zucker said. However, “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 added, “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.”
CNN began requiring employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 earlier this year. The network did not publicize where the terminated employees worked or what their positions were.
Zucker said the network would likely begin requiring proof of vaccination for employees “in the weeks ahead.”
The firing is one of the first examples of a major U.S. company expelling workers for ignoring a coronavirus-vaccine mandate. A Houston hospital network fired or accepted the resignation of 153 workers in June after they did not get vaccinated. While a group of employees sued to block the mandate for what they termed an “experimental” vaccine, a federal judge sided with the hospital.
Companies including Facebook and Google have mandated coronavirus vaccinations for all employees, while Walmart has mandated vaccinations for all employees working at its headquarters as well as managers who travel throughout the U.S.