For iHeartMedia in NYC, A COVID-19 Policy Arrives


Come Monday, December 27, all employees and contractors working in the New York City offices of the nation’s No. 1 audio content creation and distribution company will need to comply with mandates put in place on the local, state and federal level regarding COVID-19 workplace protection plans.

How some iHeartMedia employees, including those associated with conservative Talker WOR-AM 710, react to the edict, may be the next conversation topic among industry observers.

In a memo distributed to all who are tied to WLTW “106.7 Lite FM,” WWPR “Power 105.1,” WAXQ “Q104.3,” WHTZ “Z100,” WKTU-FM 103.5, WWRL “BIN 1600,” and the aforementioned WOR, iHeart Chief Human Resources Officer and Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Laven referenced the mandates and its need to comply with them.

While the requirements for the Federal OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS), which applies to employers with 100 or more workers, “remain fluid,” until further notice iHeart needs to comply.

As such, starting Monday all employees and contractors working in the J.T. Magen-designed futuristic facility at 125 West 55th Street; its studios at 32 Avenue of the Americas in lower Manhattan; “or any other New York City offsite location that includes co-workers or members of the public” will be required to submit proof of having received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.

Importantly, Laven said, “Partially vaccinated employees must become fully vaccinated within 45 days of the date they submitted proof of the first dose.”

After that date — “with limited exceptions for a quick and limited purpose (such as making a delivery, receiving an assignment, using the restroom, etc.)” — neither unvaccinated employees or contractors may physically enter iHeartMedia’s New York City offices or perform work at any of the company’s other New York City offsite locations with co-workers or members of the public.

“Even if you primarily work remotely but need to come to the office for a meeting or other purpose, you must submit proof of vaccination prior to coming to the office,” Laven said, reminding Gotham employees in bold letters that the New York City mandate does not include a testing option.

Documentation is being requested for all iHeart/NYC employees, with uploads of all of the necessary vaccine verification cards to a secure platform managed by CareValidate. This must be completed by December 27.

What is iHeartMedia’s advice to those working from New York offices and studios that have not yet received a COVID-19 vaccine? They are strongly encouraged to do so as soon as possible.

“You may take up to 4 hours during the workday (paid) to receive each primary vaccination dose and, to the extent you do not have paid sick leave available, will be allowed up to 2 days of paid time to recover from side effects resulting from each dose of a vaccine, if you experience any,” Laven said.

Employees who either cannot be vaccinated due to “a sincerely held religious belief or medical disability” or are experiencing medical or other circumstances as required by applicable law, causing a delay in vaccination and inability to receive the final dose of an acceptable vaccine by December 27, may request an accommodation through CareValidate as soon as possible and must be prior to that date.

What about indoor mask ordinances in the City of New York? Masks are currently required to be worn by all workers, guests, contractors, etc., in indoor offices regardless of vaccination status — except when alone in an office with the door closed, while actively eating or drinking, or when actively performing an on-air shift so long as a host is six feet apart from others in a studio.

Those who do not ever report to a New York City office location, including those associated with iHeartMedia’s Poughkeepsie, N.Y., stations, are excluded from these requirements.

Meanwhile, per the new New York State regulations all iHeart employees across the Empire State must confirm they have viewed a brief training regarding mask wearing, social distancing and cleaning requirements.

All New York employees will receive a mandatory training assignment from the iHeartMedia Learning Center that must be completed no later than Friday, January 6, Laven adds.