TWC Supervisor Told CSR To Stop Giving CPR And Get Back To Work, Employees Allege

After local news began investigating the death of a Time Warner Cable customer service rep, they made a shocking discovery. According to several sources at the scene, after the woman slumped at her desk, a co-worker began administering CPR, but was told to stop and get back to the phones by a supervisor.

WOIO reports the woman says she was told by another boss that she could be “held liable if something goes wrong.” However, under the “Good Samaritan Law,” this isn’t true. People are protected from being sued if they’re trying to help out in emergency situation.

Police told WOIO that they are reviewing the case.

Time Warner Cable released the following statement: “Time Warner responded appropriately to a medical emergency. Our company has procedures in place to respond to emergencies. We are saddened by the loss of one of our employees who was a co-worker and a friend. Our thoughts are with the family during this difficult time.”

Time Warner workers death sparks a Carl Monday investigation [WOIO] (Thanks to Przemek!)

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  1. Runner says:

    Sue the hell out of them the family should…

    • StarKillerX says:

      Yep, because lawsuits solve everything.

      • longfeltwant says:

        Ha ha ha! Good trolling attempt, chap, but your straw man is too obvious. We all know that “finding redress for legitimate grievances such as intentionally preventing life-saving treatment” is not equivalent to “frivolous lawsuits over petty disagreements for which the law provides no relief”. Good try, though. If you reach a little deeper down into your troll bag, and root around for a while, you might be able to pluck out a good argument.

      • kc2idf says:

        Aw, hell no, they don’t solve everything.

        But we do have a family here that has lost an income. That can be replaced.

        We also have here behaviour that needs to be corrected. Supervisors need to understand that when they do this, the shit hits the fan.

        Any settlement should include the Supervisor losing his job.

      • SOCIALISM MARXISM WELCOME TO OBAMA'S AMERICA *fart* says:

        Yeah man, just leave poor TWC be.

    • El_Fez says:

      Why like Yoda talk you?

    • Costner says:

      I don’t think they would have a case. A person is under no obligation to help another in need, and unless the supervisor forced the employee to stop by physically removing them etc, a simple request is not enough to warrant a lawsuit.

      I could be wrong… and I’m sure the family will sue either way and TWC will probably offer them something to make it all go away, but that won’t fill the void left by a dead family member obviously.

      Either way that supervisor should be terminated. If you put call stats above the actual lives of your employees you have no right to be employed. Perhaps they could find gainful employment working for BP… they could tap the blackness pumping through their veins as an alternative source of energy.

      • FatLynn says:

        It does not matter whether the supervisor physically removed the employee performing CPR. Order the employee back to his desk is equally “forceful” in an employer-employee relationship.

        Now, whether preventing aid from being given makes TWC liable is still up for debate, but there does not need to be physical force to say that the supervisor prevented the aid.

        • kujospam says:

          It is TWC to provide a safe of an environment as possible. It isn’t hard to argue that telling the employee to stop CPR made it unsafe for one employee.

      • rockamon says:

        Maybe not a criminal suit, but I’d say a civil suit is in order if the events unfolded the way they were reported.

    • MarvinMar says:

      You sound like YODA

  2. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    Customer Service Reps are like DVD players, apparently… it’s better to get a new one than to get the current one working again.

    :I

    • dadelus says:

      No offense to the deceased or their family, but this is TWC. You’re assuming the customer service rep ever worked to begin with.

      Although that would be more a function of the system they were forced into than the individual in question.

    • Leksi Wit says:

      Even TWC’s statement sounds like it was created from a DVD recording handed out to companies looking for some cheap and fast PR-legal smoothing. “If medical-related death, press 1 for PR statement, if accidental death, press 2 for PR statement…”

  3. conquestofbread says:

    Classy. We’re back to the stockyard labor mentality.

  4. mauispiderweb says:

    Employees tell us Time Warner does offer CPR classes but we’ve learned, CPR may not have been necessary to save Julia Nelson’s life. That’s because a heart defibrillator was right down the hall. Hanging on the wall of the first aid room. One problem. The door was locked. And we’re told the only person who had the key was out of the building.

    ^^^^This … can’t wait to see what TWCs response will be when questioned.

    • conquestofbread says:

      Were any of the employees actually trained to use the dfib though?

      • mauispiderweb says:

        The article didn’t say. It would make sense if the person with the key was trained, but somehow I don’t see it turning out that way.

      • WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

        Emergency defibs that you find in public places are designed to be able to be used by anyone even without training (though training does help). They are always illustrated clearly with only a few short steps, and oftentimes they are narrated by a voice.

        • conquestofbread says:

          I guess that makes sense, illustrations.

          All I could picture was someone grabbing the paddles, putting them directly on the person’s skin both in the middle of the chest. Like on TV.

          • FatLynn says:

            You *could* do it without training, but it would be much slower. For example, the pads have little diagrams indicating their placements. If you’ve had training, you would know, and wouldn’t have to stop and look.

            Of course, if you haven’t had training, you are unlikely to even know that you can use one without training. Most people who haven’t been trained on an AED are not going to grab one off the wall and even try.

            • NatalieErin says:

              Very true. Until a few months ago, I didn’t know that AEDs were set up to prevent defibrillating someone who didn’t need it. I would have avoided using one because I did know that defibrillating that doesn’t need it is very dangerous.

      • Anathema777 says:

        If it was an AED, they wouldn’t need training (though, of course, ideally the operator would have such training.) Theses machines instruct the user with voice commands and analyzes the victim’s heart patterns to make recommendations.

    • El_Fez says:

      Not that I’m blaming the OP (or defending Time Warner) here, but unlike what everyone sees on TV, defibrillators are no magic “Come Back To Life” devices. They’re only good for a VERY small set of circumstances. This may have been one of those very small sets, mind you – so who knows, but it’s not like Hollywood likes to portray.

      Much like how Hollywood would like you to think CPR stands for Clean, Precise, Reliable.

      • Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

        Ahh… I see TVTropes has laid claim to your soul as well.

      • MrEvil says:

        AEDs aren’t magical life-saving devices either, HOWEVER they are able to determine the type of cardiac arrest and whether or not it can be used. So even if someone’s first reaction is to be like the doctors on TV the machine will know better.

    • Ratty says:

      That’s a pretty awful thing to have the defibrillator so out of the way. but those aren’t always great either–AEDs are only meant to be used in certain circumstances (for particular types of heart arrhythmia). If the heart has stopped it won’t do anything.

      They really need to rectify that.

      • MrEvil says:

        If I am not mistaken AEDs do in fact check for heart rhythm to determine whether or not they can be used, which is why they are made publicly available almost like fire extinguishers.

        • DH405 says:

          Yes, you are correct. They do check the heart rate before administering any shocks. That’s the “A” part in AED. (Automatic)

    • Jawaka says:

      I don’t think that’s a requirement that a defibrillator be accessible to employees. It’s not as if there was a fire and they didn’t have sprinklers or if the fire extinguisher was locked up. Sure it may have saved this person’s life but again, if it’s not a requirement that they have one then it’s not a violation that it was locked up.

      • Rachacha says:

        True, but if a company is going to invest in the cost of an AED, they should also invest in training more than one employee, and keep the device accessable to those employees that have been properly trained in the use of the device. This would be similar to giving a clerk at a convenience store working the graveyard shift a gun for self protection, but having all of the bullets locked up in the daytime manager’s office inaccessable to the graveyard employee.

        While it is not a requirement to have an AED in the office or accessable, why would you NOT!

        Our office has several AEDs, and they are in a cabinet mounted to the wall. The door to the cabinet is alarmed, so that when the door is opened, it sounds a local alarm and it also sends an alarm to our medical office so trained medical staff can come to assist until paramedics arrive.

      • Mimbla says:

        I am not sure about this. I *think* a defibrillator has to be accessible to everyone… but then I work in a healthcare setting, and don’t know if that’s a) my employer’s policy, b) a rule/law that’s specific to healthcare settings, or c) a rule/law for all employers.

        We also have to keep the defibrillator in a place where it can be retrieved from anywhere in the building within a certain amount of time, but again, not sure which category from a), b), and c) above that rule falls into.

      • u1itn0w2day says:

        I think having the defibrillator on premises is sort of admission that an emergency might occur. But this might have been a bit insurance company suck up by Time Warner Building management or corporate.

        I wonder if these Time Warner supervisors would’ve been so quick to pull an employee holding a pressure bandage on a blood gushing wound.

      • Galium says:

        You’re correct; it just would have been common sense to have lifesaving equipment accessible. Shows you how some management thinks.

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      We used to have a defibrillator. Until our new overlords removed it and sent it away to one of their own facilities. Now we’re on our own.

      • megafly says:

        OSHA Paragraph (b) of 29 CFR 1910.151 requires that in the absence of an infirmary, clinic, or hospital near the workplace, a person or persons must be adequately trained to render first aid. Adequate first aid supplies must be readily available.

        Can the victims family sue TWC for wrongful death because the defibrillator was part of the medical supplies and ALL the medical supplies were locked up?

        That sounds like a question for a judge or jury.

    • hmburgers says:

      We used to have an AED in our office, last year they downsized us, replace the AED with a Purell machine… I guess they figured the Purell has the best chance of keeping the most people working if it’s used on a regular basis… the AED is only going to save someone who will then be a drain on the health disability insurance.

    • crispyduck13 says:

      That’s horrible. Even in my small 50 person company there are several first aid people who have been through training, and are specified as people who will respond to a medical emergency until the ambulence arrives. There are several because on the very common situation of any one person being on vacation/sick. How they hell can that place only have 1 person who has access to the equipment on site??

      I generally don’t encourage flippant lawsuites, but they deserve to lose a lot of money over this. More than that some higher up should be personally fined or serve time for gross negligence possibly contributing to a death.

  5. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    “We are saddened by the loss of one of our employees who was a co-worker and a friend.”

    I imagined whoever wrote this giggling the whole way through.

  6. wackydan says:

    Typical manager in a call center environment… GET ON THE PHONES!

    • Unicorn-Chaser says:

      I firmly believe Call Centers are the modern equivilent of a sweat shop. If I needed a job and it was my only option, I would likely introduce my head to the business end of a revolver.

      • Swintah says:

        The call center revolver would require a resume and references before allowing you to receive any bullets.

      • sponica says:

        my friend had a job at one….and she said that even though it was the most stressful environment for her, the benefits were dirt cheap and awesome and that the company was overall a good employer even though they weren’t very consumer friendly

        she rarely met her quota but her customer satisfaction rating was through the roof….

        as an aside, she found the mental health crisis hotline less stressful

      • dolemite says:

        I was a temp at a call center that did cold calls back in HS. Of course this was during dinner hours. One of the worst jobs ever. Calling strangers at dinner to ask if they wanted to buy something…I think I was cursed out about every other call.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      Customer Service Centers are like modern factories except they produce answered calls and resolved issues-cough cough.

  7. wynterbourne says:

    Unsurprising.

    Back in 2000-2001 I worked at Sprint in Fort Worth. We had a guy have a heart attack on the call floor. One of the CSRs, formerly an EMT, hopped off the phones and gave assistance. He quite literally saved the guy’s life.

    He was written up twice. Once for abandoning the call and once for “exposing the company to unnecessary liability”.

    • annecat says:

      And that’s when you know it’s time to find employment elsewhere.

      • perruptor says:

        No, that’s when you know that the economy is in the toilet – when a former EMT can only find work in a call center. If “find another job” were an option, don’t you think they’d have already done it?

        • wynterbourne says:

          Well, it wasn’t the economy at the time. He’d been involved in an accident, couldn’t spend more than a few minutes on his feet at a time. Had to walk with a cane everywhere.

    • El_Fez says:

      See, I would have been written up three times in that situation. One for leaving my post, one for exposing the company and the third for screaming at my boss in front of the entire office as I told him to fuck himself as he wrote me up for the first two.

    • Clever_Innuendo says:

      Did they write up the guy who had the heart attack too? For abandoning the call and causing a “distraction” and leaving his desk when not on assigned break times and taking an unauthorized “sick day”?

      It wouldn’t surprise me. I’ve worked in several sweat sho- I mean, call centers, and they super micromanage every second of your time.

      • Dalsnsetters says:

        Please, call them what they are. They are sweatshops. I did CSR work for a virtual worker website. We had name badges that had chips in them and there was a device on the door. Every time you left your desk to go somewhere outside of your immediate office, it would register that you left your office (not THE office, just YOUR office). I’m in menopause and my bladder has shrunk to the size of a lentil. I have to go pee every hour or so. I got written up for leaving my desk too often. When I told them it was due to a medical condition, I was first castigated for not revealing the “problem” in the first place, and then I was told I’d need to bring in a letter from my doctor but they still weren’t going to remove the write up from my file.

        Assholes.

      • Anna Kossua says:

        He probably did get some punishment, like points against his record or something.

        I once worked in a factory, and got three points against me, because while at work I went almost into anaphylactic shock — I’d been taking penicillin for days and found out the “fun” way I was super-allergic. It didn’t matter the reason, I left early that day without prior permission.

        Point systems are teh suk.

    • Difdi says:

      Given how Good Samaritan laws work, how exactly would interfering with an EMT who is performing CPR create LESS liability than allowing him to continue?

    • incident_man says:

      That’s Sprint for ya.

  8. EccentricJeff says:

    Bad customer service isn’t just for customers anymore, it’s for employees too!

  9. shibotu says:

    Reminds me of the Pony Express slogan “Orphans Preferred.”

  10. ARP says:

    You don’t want that supervisor to have low “calls answered” metrics or put wait times in the red, do you?

    BTW- Their response about their response is the most vague thing I’ve seen in a while. I know they’re not going to admit fault, but they could have at least responded directly to the allegation.

    • conquestofbread says:

      But if you ignore allegations, they just magically go away, right?

    • Nidoking says:

      I think they’re going by the adage “If you don’t have anything useful to say, don’t say anything at all.” There’s nothing they can say that would be better than saying nothing.

  11. PsychoRaven says:

    I want to say this surprises me but it really don’t. I just thank god every day that I don’t have Time Warner cable.

  12. cabalist says:

    I worked in a call center for Compass Bank (BBVA now) for 364 days. It was soul-killing work. Soul. Killing. Let me tell you this–if you work for The Man, and do The Man’s bidding, then YOU are THE MAN.

    This is how The Man works and what The Man cares about. This one’s dead, replace him… Must…make…millions…on…the…backs…of…the…impoverished.

    I couldn’t take being The Man anymore so, one day short of a year, I called in to let them know that I wasn’t going to be coming in anymore. They put me on hold and went to get my “manager”. I hung up. I TOLD them not to put me on hold… You want me to WAIT to have my manager give me sh$t? No thank you, I have enough of that.

    • BrownEyes says:

      I agree totally. I worked in a call center. We were micromanaged mercilessly with appraisals done every two weeks. Seriously…every two weeks. Everything counted against you. But hey, if you can’t cut the stress and strain, others are lined up outside the door waiting for your job. That’s what a supervisor told our team not long before I quit.

      All they care about is that you are on the phone. Period. It’s all about the almighty dollar to the people who run these places and to hell with the peons who work there.

  13. maruawe says:

    If I were the family of this person, I would sue for not allowing fellow employee’s giving needed medical attention until medics could arrive…. Having done this type of work (helping to get a business started with a friend) this type of attitude is common in phone rooms.

    • u1itn0w2day says:

      To me the problem with call centers is that being in confined space wether it be the building or room alot of managers & supervisors think they can control everything down to the last detail including timed breaks, calls per minute and/or relatively “safe” enviorment(although building pollution or repetative motion injuries are things that seem to elude them on regular basis). They want and tend to have very straight forward days and conditions.

      Management in these centers wind up being nothing but an enforcer of company policy and production goals-that’s it. They have tunnel vision. This is actually the mindset corporate probably looks for irreguardless of a lot of overly perky HR hype.

  14. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    Good Samaritan laws protect individuals but do they also protect companies?

    • Tunnen says:

      I thought corporations were people now….. =P

    • Aennan says:

      In this case, probably. The company would have liability if they trained people and expected people to provide aid as part of their jobs. So, if there was someone trained by the company to provide CPR/emergency aid, there could be company liability.

      One employee providing aid to another employee, and it isn’t part of their job? Extremely, extremely limited liability to the employer. If there were any kind of real liability, employers would have policies about illegal sharing of ibuprofen and band-aids in the workplace.

    • TasteyCat says:

      They may protect the individual. They may protect the business. They may protect neither, and regardless, you can still be sued, whether the path to prevailing is easier. Anybody banking on good samaritan laws in this scountry expects a lot more out of people than they should.

  15. exit322 says:

    Now they’re in trouble. Carl Monday’s on the job.

  16. dush says:

    Save that person’s life or lose your job.
    In these tough economic times you know what will win out.

  17. ShreeThunderbird says:

    Now that companies are “people” a “good samaritan” law could protect them just as if they were actually human beings.

  18. Jay911 says:

    Fire codes/safety codes require extinguishers, most do not require AEDs – but in some places they’re starting to legislate them in. I have no knowledge of the local jurisdiction’s laws, but hopefully there’s at least some kind of labor law or safety codes violation that can address having the first aid room LOCKED with the only key off the premises.

    For those who are talking about how AEDs only treat dysrythmias and not actual “heart has stopped” situations – you can’t tell which is which until you apply the AED. Every pulseless patient should be treated with CPR and AED when available unless there is a clear indication of injuries incompatible with life (head missing, incineration, etc).

    • MrEvil says:

      The AED will tell you whether or not it can help. Which is why they’re made publicly available like fire extinguishers. They have a built-in EKG and prompt the novice user with voice commands as to proceed. It is not a substitute for trained paramedics, but the fact that it can be deployed way faster than the paramedics ever could makes a difference.

  19. amgriffin says:

    How Time Warner’s statement would have read, had they been honest:

    “…Our thoughts are with our bottom line, protecting our profits, at the potential cost of a few worthless lives, during this difficult time.”

  20. duncanblackthorne says:

    Drag that supervisor out into the street and stone them to death.

  21. Dandelion says:

    I completely believe this. For a time, I worked in a call center for AT&T Wireless. At one point, the fire alarm went off in the building during my shift. This was after a previous actual fire – there were wiring problems in the building.

    We were not allowed to evacuate. Not allowed. Told to sit back down when we stood up. The guy I was talking to on the phone even said “That’s your building’s fire alarm, isn’t it? Shouldn’t you be getting out of there?” And I had to tell him that it was a drill, and that his call was more important.

    Needless to say, I quit that one as soon as I could.

  22. u1itn0w2day says:

    Doesn’t a fatality on a job site trigger an OSHA investigation? If I was an employee I would phone this incident into OSHA and the state safety regulators including the local fire department which frequently dictates emergency contingencies in a building.

  23. u1itn0w2day says:

    One of my favorite management excuses/rationalizations was ‘take care of the customers’ .

    Hmmm, did they really think that the customer/s were going get top flight efficient customer service from an employee who was told to stop life saving activities on one of their dying co -workers, still dying on the floor helpless, like that wouldn’t distract the employees and/or effect customer service .

    I don’t think most customers would want such a distracted employee handling their problem, actually as management I wouldn’t want a distracted employee handling customers, anything could happen from a breakdown on the phone to an employee saying screw it and giving away the store so to speak.

    New meaning to the title of robo supervisor.

  24. farker22 says:

    all things being equal, they aren’t that helpful on the phone…

  25. HogwartsProfessor says:

    Wow. I can’t watch the video, so I don’t know what the employee trying to help did, but I would have kept doing it and quit right after that. We have a couple of people here that have first-aid training (including one in the office that used to be an EMT), and I sincerely hope that if my heart stopped or I choked on my lunch or something fell on me that they would help.

  26. u1itn0w2day says:

    Apparently Time Warner Cable has had safety issues over the last few months. This injured field technician was rescued by third parties and not company employees.

    http://www.journaltimes.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/article_94c1002c-bde7-11e0-b804-001cc4c002e0.html

    The technician was noticed as early as 4:45 am and wasn’t found til about an hour later. Why are TWC techs doing field work alone in the dark? I don’t know but perhaps this tech was ill or skipped a procedure OR felt pressured to cut safety procedures for productivity reasons. But when working around or near electric as a utility worker precautions and testing/checking for hazards are drilled into you. As do many companies require a 2nd man after dark for safety reasons.

    Apparently Time Warner Cable doesn’t emphasize employee health & safety.

    Hope this technician is doing better.

  27. oldwiz65 says:

    They don’t care about employees; they can always hire another one at a lower pay scale. In this economy, employers don’t really need to worry – there are 1,000 people who would apply for the job. It’s far more important to answer the phone than to save an employee’s life.

    The auto defib machines should never be locked up.

  28. Nyxalinth says:

    Having worked in some godawful call centers, I call bullshit. It’s more they didn’t want to let her off the phones for fear of losing money.

  29. Max Headroom says:

    Stay classy TWC.

  30. MikeHerbst says:

    Other fact NOT covered by the article:

    Good Samaritan laws will protect you _IF_ you get involved, but once you get involved, you are OBLIGATED to stay with the patient and render all possible aid until professional medical assistance arrives.

    So, in this instance, once started, stopping CPR and returning to work (or even just standing around) would basically OPEN you up for a lawsuit.

    No one is ever obligated to render assistance, but once you take responsibility, you’ve got to see it through.

  31. atomoverride says:

    dont worry the family is getting free HBO for the next 3 months.

  32. DriveByLurker says:

    You’d think that TWC could have at least said, “We’ll send someone by to perform CPR sometime between noon and 5 P.M.”…..