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Charter Communications Won’t Let People Work From Home; Fires Critic

March 20, 2020

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

DENVER, Colo.—The Charter Communications cable-TV and Internet company, whose New York field technicians have been on strike for three years since it slashed their health benefits, is being equally harsh with its office staff. Workers in several different cities told the tech-news site Gizmodo that the company is refusing to let them work from home despite the COVID-19 epidemic—even after an employee in the Charlotte, N.C. office tested positive for the virus Mar. 13. Charter CEO Tom Rutledge sent workers an email Mar. 14 saying that their functions “are more effective from the office.” A San Diego call center employee told Gizmodo that workers “sit six to a pod with about 4-5 feet between each other,” and use the same desks as those on other shifts. Another worker’s wife said that technicians are not allowed to wear masks, because “they might scare the customers.” On Mar. 13, Charter fired Nick Wheeler, a Denver video operations engineer, after he sent an email saying that having to come into the office “as the COVID-19 pandemic surges around us” was “pointlessly reckless” and “socially irresponsible.” He told TechCrunch that company officials said his email was “irresponsible” and “inciting fear.” Read more

March 20, 2020

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