Saturday, October 23, 2021

KCBD News Launches Lubbock Employees Over COVID Vaccine Policy

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Lehnen confirmed that Jackson and two other employees — including KCBD’s general sales manager and news director — were fired last week, while she was among three employees who were terminated Tuesday. Other current and former KCBD employees have also confirmed the terminations.

KCBD-TV and its parent company, GrayTV, released a brief statement to the Avalanche-Journal’s request for comment Wednesday morning. That move comes after President Joe Biden last month announced a federal mandate that all employers with more than 100 workers require employees to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans, according to The Associated Press.

Lehnen said that, as of Oct. 1, GrayTV implemented a policy requiring employees be fully vaccinated for COVID-19, with few exceptions offered. But earlier this week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced an executive order banning companies and other entities from mandating COVID-19 vaccinations — creating a potential conflict between state and federal policy, with employers caught in the middle.

GrayTV implemented a policy requiring employees be fully vaccinated “I can tell you they are no longer with the station. KCBD (GrayTV) does not comment on personnel matters,” reads the statement, which refers further questions to Interim General Manager Patrick Stacey. Stacey is listed as the vice president and general manager of GrayTV property KLTV in Tyler. He was not immediately available for comment.

Lehnen said her doctor advised her against getting a COVID-19 vaccination earlier this year, claiming that because she’d already been diagnosed with the disease her antibodies would be adequate protection. Lehnen said she’s visiting with an attorney, who she declined to identify, but added that she’s hopeful Abbott’s order could help the former employees’ position.

She said she’d heard from others that Gray was generally not accepting employees’ requests for religious or other exemptions from its COVID-19 vaccination mandate, so she didn’t request an exemption. “I never submitted an exemption because I was told by my management team that (GrayTV) were denying them, they were not accepting them, and so I was just trying to ride it out,” she said. Banning mandates:Gov. Abbott issues executive order banning vaccine mandates by private entities

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