Who's the worst boss in the US?

A new report takes Dish Network's founder and chairman Charles Ergen to task for treatment of the company's employees.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 4, 2013 2:48PM

Image: Charles 'Charlie' Ergen, chairman and co-founder of Dish Network Corp (© Jonathan Alcorn/Bloomberg via Getty Images)Bad bosses aren't uncommon, but according to one report there's one that stands a head above (or should it be below?) the rest of America's managers: Dish Network (DISH) Chairman Charles Ergen. 

Ergen, with an estimated net worth of $9 billion, doesn't allow its employees to have company credit cards -- and for many years would deduct money from an employee's paycheck if they tipped more than 15%, according to Bloomberg Businessweek.

Expecting workers at their desks no later than 9 a.m., Dish previously used identification badges for entry to its headquarters. But after noting that some workers were asking colleagues to "badge-in" for them, Ergen reportedly had the company switch over to fingerprint scanners. 

"Multiple ex-employees say it’s not uncommon to see Ergen publicly berate an executive for scanning in a few minutes late," the article notes, "even if that executive had spent the previous 12 hours at home working through the night."

Ergen isn't warm and fuzzy to Wall Street, either. Sanford C. Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett tells Businessweek that when he first started in his job, he asked to fly to Denver to meet with Dish's management. Dish responded, "We’re too busy creating value around here to sit down and talk about it. Thanks but no thanks.”

Despite his critics, Ergen's focus appears to have helped the company's bottom line: Dish has beaten estimates for five out of the last eight quarters, and its stock jumped 27% last year.

A spokesman for Dish told the New York Post, "It is a challenging place to work." He added that Dish is a "cost-conscious company", where executives are required to share hotel rooms when they travel.

Since Ergen stepped down as chief executive, the company has relaxed some policies: for instance, it's now acceptable to leave a 17% tip without getting your paycheck dinged. 

On employment site Glassdoor.com, Dish receives only 2.2 stars out of 5, based on roughly 600 reviews from employees. That means its workers are "dissatisfied." But one recent reviewer, who awarded Dish just one star, wrote, "Joe Clayton (CEO) put us up to upgrading our score." 

A Dish spokesman tells MSN Money Now that Clayton has encouraged employees to read the Businessweek article and add reviews to the employment site. According to an excerpt from the memo, Clayton wrote, "If you are happy here at DISH, and believe the company is moving in the right direction, log on to glassdoor.com (here) and provide feedback."

The spokesman adds, "It's Joe's regular practice to solicit direct feedback -- good and bad -- from employees so we can improve the business. This is an effort we take very seriously."

More on Money Now

Jan 9, 2013 11:42PM
Maybe he isn't mean, maybe he is just 'matter of fact' kind of guy, you know as in direct.
Charlie Ergen is worth billions.  I've been a nice guy all my life and I'm not worth a buck fifty.
Who is doing it wrong?  
I am going to try and follow in your footsteps and maybe I'll make something of myself.  Lead on Mr. Ergen.

Jan 6, 2013 5:29PM
Hands down.....Barack  Obama, John Boehner, Ben Bernanke, Harry Reid and Timothy Geithner
Jan 6, 2013 2:46PM

Working for this company is an exercise in extreme micromangement. Imagine you are a plumber who works for a large corporate plumbing company. Your boss shows up on your jobsite and unloads your truck, searches it and counts everything.. He calls you over and says "You have 8 2" gaskets in theback door of your truck. First of all, they are in the wrong place, they are supposed to be in the side door up front. second, you are only allowed to carry 5 of these on the truck and you know it. Also, I found a screwdriver in your toolbag that is obviously not one of our brands, it is a personal tool and I am going to have to give you a write-up"

Now, seems exxagerated? No, this is how the company operates. They have eased up a bit on this extreme in the past two years, but if you are on there bad side this conversation will happen every day.

Lunch? Forget it. If you know you are lined up for a 16 hour day (mandatory), there is no time for lunch. You are actually expected to clock out for lunch yet keep working. Since other techs all put in work for free on a daily basis, you are compelled to do the same or else you look like a low performer compared to them. It is a vicious cycle.

Jan 6, 2013 11:06AM
When working for a boss that treats me well I'll give 110%. When working for a boss that treats me badly I'll give ONLY what i have to to keep the job (while I look for a new one)
Jan 5, 2013 7:17PM
I had a much worse boss than that (a drinker) and it was a bad situation.  I will say tho, I'd like to have Ergen come to my place of business - just for one month.  Even if it was just to get rid of all the people who come in and leave when they want, take long lunches, sit around and yell into their cell phones at their spouses and their kids all day long, "decorate" their cubicles and offices until it looks like they are sitting in a bowl of trash, call in sick before and after vacations and holidays - and squander money.  I wish all we had to worry about was someone tipping more than 15%. 
Jan 5, 2013 7:09PM

"According to one report"!!! No mention of where the report came from or who wrote it.


So, lets see. The writer is upset because the CEO rebuffed her request for an interview and decides to write THIS piece of garbage claiming that he is the worst boss simply because he expects his employees to turn up for work at the agreed time.


Yes, that about sums it up.

Jan 5, 2013 11:08AM

Also a bad company from a customer perspective.

Jan 5, 2013 1:50AM
Sound like he is a d-bag.  I would not work for him.  There's no way in hell I'm sharing a room.
Jan 4, 2013 9:51PM

Wah Wah Wah....

Are you kidding me? So you have to be at work on time and you can't spend the company's money as though you were a playboy out on the town. 15% is a good tip and should you be "SO" impressed with the service that you feel you need to add more then please feel free to do so at your own expense.

This guys deserves a medal for protecting employee's jobs through the worst economic times in decades.

Grow up. This is not the hand out America that Obama wants you to believe it is. 

Jan 4, 2013 9:22PM
"Toughest" boss may be a better term.   While I don't think I would enjoy working for someone like him, I respect his commitment to the success of the company.  A truly "bad" boss in my book is controlling AND ineffective.   These are the "control-freaks" whose focus seems to be based more on maintaining their insecurity-based power trip, than actually achieving anything constructive. 

Not that it should be surprising that people who end up in positions of power are there because they crave power.   More often than not,  this lust for power and control stems from a deep-seated insecurity - regardless of how tough and confident they appear on the outside.  It's a facade.   Inside they are scared little boys who are still trying to get over having their lunch money stolen in grade school.  Some of us can see through them and they know it.

On the other hand, a good boss motivates out of respect - not fear.   A great boss is one you do your best for because you know you are appreciated and you don't want to let  him (or her) down. Sadly, this kind of integrity is interpreted as a threat to most paranoid control freaks.  As a result, these bosses generally don't survive well in the modern workplace.   

Jan 4, 2013 9:17PM
I do not subscribe to dish now, but after reading this article I don't  think will.
Jan 4, 2013 9:11PM

The worst boss in the US is the collective US.  Workers show late, leave early.  Make better money and better bennies.  People screw up and just get transferred. Representatives worry mostly about keeping their head in the trough.  Oversight is non existant.  Billions are squandered while no one cares.

too many on the payroll. too many with cars and perks we pay for.  The list could go on for pages.


The Boss or bosses do nothing to improve the situation.  If America were a business it would be bankrupt and unable to come out of it.

Jan 4, 2013 9:01PM
Nothing worse than a cheap-**** one-percenter!
Jan 4, 2013 8:57PM
the last time a "boss" tried berating me in public because i didn't agree with him, was carried out on a stretcher.
Jan 4, 2013 8:53PM
Maybe Ergen should be heading the GAO or, better yet, running the travel office for congress.
Jan 4, 2013 8:52PM
Here's a solution. Don't work for the pr*ck!!
Jan 4, 2013 8:50PM
How about the show--"undercover Boss'" lets call a few of these bosses back in for another show and really see what the people want to see--the truth!  Please start with Frontier Airline and Brian Bedford.
Jan 4, 2013 8:49PM
If work was fun you would pay to do it, not vice versa.

Jan 4, 2013 8:47PM
Thats okay...people will go where they feel needed and repsected (hint to all of the companies out there who manage by intimidation and treat employees like yesterdays newspaper). 
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