February 2nd, Comcast made a mistake, putting politics before business. The company supported protests against President Trump’s order limiting immigrants from countries known to breed terrorists. The planning of these protests was launched in the Comcast Silicon Valley (CSV) office. Company organizers created a chatroom where the plans were laid. As an enticement, a VP sent an email to a list of current and former CSV workers. It read in part:
“As many of you know, a group of Comcasters in Philly and CSV are organizing a walkout for tomorrow to protest the Trump administration’s immigration policies. If you want to participate or learn more about this, join the #walkout Slack channel (chatroom).”
The VP went on to say he was “extremely supportive of this action”, and “if you don’t agree with the action, you shouldn’t feel any pressure. We’re supposed to be “the land of the free” so let’s all respect each others rights to speak our minds, or stay silent“.
That was the first time, Mike Klepper a contractor, learned of this chatroom. According to Mike, there were heated discussions of this protest by his coworkers. Discussions that he was deliberately left out of. Company organizers and Comcast legal services determined that protesters should not use the Comcast logo or name on their signs. It was also stated the protest was not mandatory, nor was it an official Comcast event. But employees were allowed to take one hour of paid time off to participate.
Mike, a Gay Trump supporter, decided to counter-protest (remember that sentence about a free country where we could speak our minds?) In preparation, Mike wrote a story entitled “Two Minutes of Hate” in response to the protests over the President’s order. Mike says almost immediately, people began talking to him about the protests, and the possible consequences of his actions. He says that one fellow employee was afraid to counter-protest, asking, “You think the police will protect you?”
As the employee-protesters gathered at the plaza, Mike stood with a sign that read “#RememberTheVictims” and a photo of a man he used to do business with, before being killed in the Orlando Pulse Shootings. Mike took a position in an out of the way location, but where he was still visible to the protesters as they started their march to City Hall and returned to work. The protest was short, management was only paying them for one hour.
When Mike showed up at work the next day, he was summarily fired by a manager who’s parents were immigrants. Mike says the reasons given him have been conflicted. The company first said he was “unhappy” in his current position. Then he was told that “my team wanted an operations person instead of a software developer.”
Records show he has been a contractor at Comcast for about two years. Near the end of year one, the company made an offer to hire him permanently but they couldn’t reach an agreement on pay. He has also been moved to two other teams due to job requirements. Hardly the actions one takes if someone is unhappy with your work.
Mike was happy at Comcast until the protest. He is not sure if he will work for Comcast in the future. He says he holds no ill-will towards the company. He feels their left hand doesn’t knows what the right hand is doing most of the time. Mike says he won’t hold any grudges as a whole. But he is certain that he can no longer trust them.