Sources inside the 4,000-employee Hobby Lobby headquarters in OKC say that no employees were allowed to work remotely last week even though whole departments easily could have.
Those sources say that most of their coworkers were worried about the possibility of the spread of the coronavirus COVID-19 disease because of the company’s refusal to allow anyone to work remotely.
Hobby Lobby has its national company headquarters and central operations on one sprawling campus at S.W. 44th Street and S. Council Road within the City of Oklahoma City limits.
A March 10 memo Free Press obtained from an unofficial source tightened and defined in detail what the 4,000 employees should do if they experience any signs of the illness or if a family member comes down with the illness.
No remote work
Yet, there was no mention or offer for any of the 4,000 employees to work from home even though several sources in the company have told us their whole departments easily could have last week.
Our sources said that there has been deep concerns within their departments about being made to continue to come into the office with the COVID-19 pandemic beginning to threaten the health of millions in Oklahoma and the nation.
We are now hearing that a few employees will be allowed to work remotely starting Monday, March 23.
Free Press knows the identity of the sources but has agreed to keep them anonymous because they fear reprisal from the company for talking to the press.
The company did not respond to requests for comment Thursday and Friday.
Much of the memo embedded below uses Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines on avoiding and detecting possible contraction of the disease.
Of special note, however, are the policies for leave in the event an employee is diagnosed with COVID-19.
From the March 10 memo:
Employees required to stay home for a COVID-19-related reason will be provided with a leave of absence. Employees placed on a leave of absence may use any available PPTO/Sick Pay or other applicable paid leave benefits. If other forms of applicable leave are exhausted, employees may be provided with an additional leave of absence as an accommodation.
Further guidelines in the memo make provision for isolating an employee that may have the virus.
However, there is no mention of the option of isolation by remote working as a way to stop the spread of the disease in the workplace.2nd-Corporate-Coronavirus-Memo-03102020-FINAL
Sustain our journalism by becoming a supporter
Oklahoma City Free Press is dedicated to providing high quality journalism that positively impacts our community. Click this linkto support our mission.
Last Updated March 22, 2020, 2:00 AM by Brett Dickerson – Editor