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."


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230Comments
Jan 4, 2013 5:45PM
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I think he fits right in on this message board with you other conservative, republican, fetus loving, FOX watching, Rush listening knuckleheads. 
Jan 4, 2013 5:45PM
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He sounds like a control freak. I've worked with a few.  If they had been around 150 years ago and one of his slaves ran off, he would have put everyone in chains.

Jan 4, 2013 5:45PM
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The worst boss is a woman in FL who I will not name.  Talk about a micro-manager.  She had hidden cameras in the office which an employee discovered by accident.  There are three things you have to do to sign in in the morning.  She eliminated the ten minute morning and afternoon breaks.  She checks the arrest records monthly.  Although her office was far away from the file room, I happened to be in there when she faxed them a message "get to work!"  Believe me, those file clerks worked really hard - everyone did.  I sent an internal email to a friend in the office simply as a test to see how soon I would be called on the carpet and that only took ten minutes.  Yes, she reads all the email.  She blamed me for something I had absolutely nothing to do with and I proved that conclusively, but she still hated me after that happened.  She fired the best people and I figured out it was because they had been hired by the previous office manager.  Only a real nut would get rid of all the best people.  Yes, she fired me too.  I got her though because when she asked if I needed a box for my stuff I told her I was already packed!  ha ha ha - I got the last laugh and was able to collect unemployment probably because of her reputation and the ridiculous reasons she came up with to fire people.
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Guess that's why I never liked DISH and I cancelled it after a very short time!
Jan 4, 2013 5:43PM
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Sometimes you need a callous,direct person with no "fluff" to get thigns turned around.  I would venture to guess that the culture before he arrived was too lax.  Just a guess. Whatever he was doing worked based on the results of the company.

Jan 4, 2013 5:42PM
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This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that works in the "corporate" atmosphere.  Almost every company is interested in improving the bottom line, no matter what the consequences to it's employees.  There are a few exceptions, but not many.  Some things never change.
Jan 4, 2013 5:39PM
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Not sure he's a bad boss, just an ****.

 

Jan 4, 2013 5:39PM
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He definitely knows how to salvage a buck.  I guess that's why I switched satellite companies. 
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This bastard doesn't deserve anything at all but be broke as most others are ,he is only a crook.
Jan 4, 2013 5:32PM
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the cable and dish tv business reflects what happens when you have a government supported oligopoly. bad product, bad service and high prices
Jan 4, 2013 5:31PM
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I`ve had worse bosses than that.That`s why I went into business.I started out running

things on a shoestring.Soon I`ll have 79 employees.I give loyalty and get loyalty.

Jan 4, 2013 5:31PM
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Obama is the worst boss in the world.  The dismal state of the United States is indisputable evidence.
Jan 4, 2013 5:30PM
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When did it become ok to be LATE ! Late is late.5 min. early is on time ; on time is late ; 5min late fired. I agree with Mr.Ergen.

Jan 4, 2013 5:25PM
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Every sociopath in America who thinks he or she set trends. There's a ton of them. Every fool with a Twitter. Every anti-American who takes six-digits or more from our economy and belly-aches about taxes.
Jan 4, 2013 5:23PM
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If the facts are true, I don't like the way he operates. But if his employees are put on notice as to what he expects before they accept employment with his company and if he explains to his prospective employees that his business is highly competitive and that he wants the company to prosper and that the employees will be pushed to their limits, then I think the employees can't complain. Of course they should negotiate for compensation commensurate to their abilities and the company's profits.

 

It's really up to the individual employee to determine if his business "style" is worth it for him or her. I would think most people would want to sacrifice "freedom" to work for a company that is solvent and doing well.

Jan 4, 2013 5:14PM
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He must be quite a guy to surpass Al "chainsaw" Dunlap for heartlessness.
Jan 4, 2013 5:09PM
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I must have misunderstood something   why are employees tipping??
Jan 4, 2013 5:09PM
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They treat their customers the same way. I'd rather not have TV at all than to ever use them again. Their customer service sucks.
Jan 4, 2013 5:08PM
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 I was once called in for a job intvw with them, the receptionist had to be  one of the rudest, meanest, nastiest  women I have even encountered...It was so bad I looked at her, figured if that's how how they make a first impression...I don't need any part of this place...I turned around and walked out...I called the mgr who was to intvw me and explained what happened and he was like oh well, no biggie lol  he sounded like he  was in his 20's....

The article really misses the boat as there have been dozens of  crazy things involving this company over the years
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