Hear Interview With Former Wyoming Anchor Kerri Hayden
A familiar face in Cheyenne news has been fired after failing to comply with her employer's COVID-19 vaccine mandate.
Karry Hayden was good enough to join me on Wake Up Wyoming to talk about why she was fired, what stories like hers mean for Wyoming, the media and America and where she goes from here.
You can hear this morning's interview at this link.
"I've made the decision to not allow Gray TV to control my personal choices," longtime KGWN-TV anchor Kerri Hayden posted on Facebook Sunday afternoon. "I did not comply with their vaccine mandate after my exemption request was denied, therefore I was terminated."
Hayden says she sent in a religious/medical exemption on Aug. 23 after receiving an email saying all Gray employees had to be vaccinated, effective Oct. 1.
"HR in Atlanta emailed Aug. 26 and said, 'We'll let you know as soon as possible if a reasonable accommodation can be made for you,'" said Hayden. "I didn't hear anything again until Sept. 24 when they said, 'Oh, it's denied and your last day is next Friday."
Hayden says had Gray not taken a month to deny her exemption, she would have had time to figure out whether to go ahead and get the vaccine.
"To deny me five days before the deadline -- I can't go be fully vaccinated in five days to keep my job," said Hayden.
"And it sounds to me like I kind of got lucky," she added. "A lot of people I've talked to were called in Friday (and) fired without even knowing what the status of their exemption was."
Hayden says that was the case for recent KGWN hire Rachel Saurer, who reported and did weekend weather for the station, as well as hundreds of Gray employees nationwide.
"Out of everybody I've talked to, a lot of Gray people, they haven't accepted or approved anybody, not one exemption throughout the whole country," said Hayden.
A phone message left with Gray's HR department on Tuesday was not immediately returned.
Rumors were circulating at the time that a second personality, with the same company, Gray TV, would be fired in Casper for the same reason.
Now Cheryl Hackett of KCWY in Casper has announced that she was leaving the station due to her vaccine exemption request being denied. Hackett made the announcement on her social media saying;
“Over the past six years, it has been my great delight to meet and interview so many wonderful people who are doing wonderful things in, and for, our community,” Hackett wrote. “I have been honored and touched when kind viewers have paid me kind compliments (usually at the grocery store, because–with a large family– that’s where you can usually find me!) about how much they love watching MomsEveryday.”
Regarding being let go over the company's vaccine policy she wrote'
“While I disagree with the decision and outcome, and feel sadness for the good people across the county who lost their jobs, I have nothing but respect and appreciation for our local general manager, Jim Beck, our now-retired news director, John Ehrhart, as well as the rest of the staff at the station, who have all become my friends,”
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