Monday, September 24, 2007

Tribune Company Policy on Death Notifications

On Wednesday August 8th, 2007 the coroner paid a visit to my home to inform my family that my son Bryan had been killed. My daughter Kristine’s screams still ring in my ears as I shake my head in disbelief to this day, I still replay her words “BRYAN’S DEAD DAD”.

The screaming from both of my daughters brought the San Dimas Sheriff’s to my home, and once they knew what terrible news we had just received, they attempted to comfort the girls before departing.

When a parent is informed of the death of their child, you really are left stunned, and in my case, I was walking in circles, not certain what steps to take next? When I came to my senses, I sent out text messages to everyone in my cell phone, emails to family and friends in my address book, created bulletins on MySpace and Facebook, and finally I blogged about Bryan’s death online.

Needless to say, our cell phones and home phone were ringing off the hook as many concerned family and friends started to call for information regarding Bryan’s death, and too verify if it was true.

As our home filled with Bryan’s siblings and family members, I remembered I had to call in to the Los Angeles Times, within two hours of the start of my shift, to inform the company I would not be coming to work. Taking many deep breaths before calling into work, I was finally able to make this most difficult call, only to reach our $40.00 per hour data entry clerk.

After informing the data entry clerk that my son was killed I was told “You have to call back Edward”, I was stunned at the lack of compassion shown and responded I would not be calling back! I was then given a barrage hate at the top of her lungs from this person, she said “WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE EDWARD”, before I could answer with a F*** You I hung up the phone.

The following email was sent to Russ Newton immediately after hanging up on the data entry clerk.


The coroner left my house an hour ago with information on the death of my son Bryan. I called the pressroom office and reached (name deleted), and told her my son had died and I needed the remainder of the work week off. She told me I had to call back! I told her I would not be calling back, and she then proceeded to let me have a verbal barrage, to which I hung up on her.

I would like to file a complaint with human resources over her behavior, and with the union if I get no where with the company. This woman has given us all SHIT for years and needs to be reported.

Thank you,

When I returned to work Greg Malcolm told me Human Resources ran an investigation, and their findings were it’s your word against hers. So remember, the next time you are called into the pressroom office, take a witness along with you because it’s your word against theirs.

Denise Kolm told me this was not an isolated event, when she called in that her uncle had passed away, she too was met with the same you have to call back.

Is this a Tribune Company policy, or just a policy for the Los Angeles Times Pressroom because the union was voted in? Whatever the case, this policy needs to be changed today, not tomorrow, but today. And the person or persons responsible for this heartless policy regarding death notifications need to leave the company as soon as possible.


Nubia said...

Kudos, Edward, for posting the incident. This will let your coworkers know what to possibly expect if this unfortunate situation ever happen to them.

Better yet, tell them to record any conversations with this $40/hr. data entry clerk.

kanani said...

I remember when this happened, Edward. You had just gotten off the phone with her.

Jade said...

When I first heard about this I thought that someone would certainly reprimand the data entry clerk. I'm amazed to read that I was wrong.

In the municipal government office where I work no one would ever dream of treating a friend and coworker that way! Everyone here is supportive and has compassion for those who have suffered a loss. We try to help and be supportive of each other.

I hope you and your family are doing better. You are in my prayers daily.

Debra Taylor-Padgett said...

I don't doubt anyone that has lost a loved one is total amazement as I was when I heard of the travesty...I know of the individual you speak of and I can only hope, he/she will never have to "call in" and encounter such a lack of insensitivity.

But, in the event, she does, God show her grace, for her wretched heart is sorely in need...

Debra Taylor-Padgett said...

In addendum, data entry clerk or glorified government employee, no one should be subjected to that level of any self-respecting person..I am trul appalled...

darleene said...

I highly doubt that would be policy, as that HAS to be a violation of some law. It sounds more like that clerk is simply rude and self-loathing.

There are some people who just have no compassion.

I'm sorry you had to go through this.