New York Attorney General Letitia James has opened an inquiry into telecommuting giant Charter Communications following reports that its employees have been unnecessarily forced to commute to corporate offices and call centers amid the coronavirus, ignoring federal health safety guidelines.
The inquiry will examine labor and management practices within the telecommunication company, which provides services under the name Spectrum, a spokesperson for James’ office confirmed Tuesday.
In an email to HuffPost, a Charter spokesperson declined to comment on the inquiry but said that “the significant majority” of its office workers are working remotely.
Since the start of the pandemic, more than 230 Spectrum employees have tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and at least two field workers have died. Roughly half of those sickened work in offices or call centers, The New York Times reported, citing a person with knowledge of the company but not authorized to speak publicly.
Charter, which provides phone, internet and TV plans, employs more than 95,000 people in 41 states, according to its website.
In recent weeks there have been several reports of employees accusing the company’s management of forcing them to physically report to offices and call centers despite them being able to perform their jobs from home.
Charter’s chief executive Tom Rutledge, in an email to staff back in March obtained by TechCrunch, had told employees that roughly 15% of employees who are able to work remotely will regardless still be required to commute in. His reason was that “they are more effective from the office.”
Charter is considered an essential business so it has been allowed to remain open as other businesses around the country have been ordered to close to prevent COVID-19 from spreading. Connecticut, where Charter’s headquarters is located, has advised essential businesses to allow employees to work remotely if possible.
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