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 4, 2013 6:37PM

Customer service at Dish reflects this idiot's same attitude and demeanor.

Dont use Dish Network or pay the price.

Jan 4, 2013 6:35PM
terrible man shame that the man requires his employees to be on time  kind of like the military, And he is just awful to keep costs down because he asks employees to watch costs by sharing rooms. the tip thing out of their own pockets was a little much unless their charging it as a company expense. This is where america gone a miss if congress was required to cut back and share expenses like this the tax payer would be in much better shape This should be where the US should start fixing the budget not cutting away from social security and medicare
Jan 4, 2013 6:34PM
Jan 4, 2013 6:31PM

Man, if this is considered the worst boss in the US then I have worked for some really really crappy bosses!

Jan 4, 2013 6:30PM
I worked for a _rick like that some years ago. After several years of his unpredictable episodes of ranting for no apparent reason, I applied for and received an excellent position with a substantial pay increase and much better benefits. My "notice" consisted of a derogatory note I left on my desk at lunch one day and I never returned. Six months later I learned he had been fired.
Jan 4, 2013 6:29PM

Ergen - what a joke - another article should be published re: "treatment of customers" I will never ever again have DISH!!!!!  The bottom line has increased by overcharging and double charging customers.


Jan 4, 2013 6:24PM
I need to get rid of Dish too. They lied to me about a local channel I could get AND then switch to another network channell in another channel. I will try to wait my two years out.
Jan 4, 2013 6:23PM
us congress might take a note from this mans page While being a jerk he knows how to conduct business profitably without wasting a lot of money on unnecessary frills
Jan 4, 2013 6:21PM
For double douchebag Ergen. The Dish Network installer never gets any relief and the sh*t definitely rolls down the hill at this company! Never heard anything, but bad things about Dish. Glad I am not an employee, or user of this service. Sorry for those who have to wade through the b.s. of this company so some rich terd can bathe in the money, but isnt that the true corporate america!
Jan 4, 2013 6:20PM
Sounds like he just runs a tight ship. Necessary to succeed in today's business climate.
Jan 4, 2013 6:17PM
The year escapes me now, but some time between 1999-2003 I interviewed to be one of Charlie Ergen's assistants in Colorado.  I made it through 2 sets of interviews and still had not yet met him personally - and as I got to the last interview I was told by the HR person there at that time that if I didn't have a "very very thick skin", I should carefully reconsider going forward.  The seriousness of that comment caused me to bow out (I had other offers on the table that were very competitive - but if I hadn't, I would have moved forward and seen what happened).  Looking back, I am glad I took a different path.  I work for a CEO who is kind, generous, and very likeable by staff and clients.  That's important.  Not the money.
Jan 4, 2013 6:17PM
LOL. my last boss was an **** like this. He require us to "login" to a time system, and if you were 1 second late (7:01:01) he would dock 15 minutes of vacation from you. Also, he would bring in flyers from home with a blank side and have the office admin staff staple them together to be used instead of buying notepads....
Jan 4, 2013 6:12PM
Other than public berating, the rest of what the article claims he has done is fine. You want to tip more than 15% , it comes out of your pocket. Don't come in after 9am. You cant have a company liable credit card. Oh they were too busy to meet with some young wall st puke. I was expecting a lot more than that to be the worst.
Jan 4, 2013 6:11PM
Adults who behave as Ergen is described have a higher risk of developing incurable cancers. I wish him well.
Jan 4, 2013 6:11PM
Self-centered, center of the universe, dictator. I am sure he thinks he is happy.  Unfortunately, this is the new normal in this country. And who does he answer to? The stockholders? They are making money? 
Jan 4, 2013 6:07PM
I do not have DISH, but everyone I know says they have the worst customer service......do not know this first hand.  Is it true???
Jan 4, 2013 6:07PM
Remember when the whole premise of 'paying' for cable/satellite TV was to get commercial free programming?  Now, we are paying for the commercials and the programming.  Just saying, 133 channels of crap.  Plus, they track your viewing and coordinate the commercials.  For example, you start watching one thing for 5 minutes and bing, 10 minutes of commercials.  You switch to another channel and watch that for 5 minutes and bing, 10 minutes of commercials so you switch back to the other station and the program is on again and then another round of commercials.  You switch back to the other channel and commercials are on there too and those two channels are now synced to running commercials at the same intervals.  I've noticed this over the last year or so they've done something to make this happen.   I'm seriously considering throwing the Cable/Satellite out solely viewing via the internet.  There is just something really wrong with paying $100.00 per month and being assaulted with constant commercials that I'm paying for.  Plus, these companies are making bank, advertisers are paying them to run the commercials and their customers are too!   Biggest rip-off in modern history.
Jan 4, 2013 6:05PM
Bob Nardelli, worst ever. Chrysler Bankrupt, Home Depot worth nothing, Freedom Group stripped entire company of benefits.
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