Rosie’s employee with blind son learning virtually begs company to work from home: ‘How am I going to survive?’

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — 8 News is Taking Action for parents now juggling how they make a living with their kids at home learning — all at the same time.

A Rosie’s Gaming Emporium employee with a blind teenage son learning from home in Henrico county says she needs the option of working remotely.

Her story is just a snapshot of the larger issue at hand. Many workplaces are making accommodations for their employees during the pandemic. Some are handing out laptops and telling employees to work from their living rooms. However, that’s not the case for every family, including Nikeya Dade-Archie’s.

“Being a single parent is already enough and then you just throw a whole pandemic on top of it,” she told 8News on Monday. 

Her 16-year-old son Dejeon is living blind. She said a breathing condition on top of that makes him high-risk for COVID-19. That’s why she’s happy Henrico County is starting the school year virtually. However, “I’m stuck in a hard place,” she said.

The mother told 8News she needs to be home with him so she needs the ability to work from home. She’s an auditor at at the New Kent location. “It’s definitely possible for me to work from home. I’m just being told [considering] the position that I hold, it’s not an option,” she said.

Dade-Archie said the best accommodation the company has offered is to go in and work the weekends for the next three weeks. That means her hours and pay are cut in half, from 40 hours a week to 20.  “How am I going to survive? How am I going to provide for my kids?”

Bringing the virus home from work is another concern for the mom. That concern became a potential reality on September 12 when she received an email with subject line: “Notice Regarding COVID-19 Exposure at Colonial Downs and Rosie’s Gaming Emporium New Kent”. The letter says a fellow employee tested positive for COVID-19 and said she may have been exposed to the virus. The next sentence reads, “we do not believe that a self quarantine is required.”

However, in the company’s own “Self-Assessment” guidelines for employees dated August 24th, it tells employees that if they believe you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 within the last 14 days, to self-isolate and “don’t report to work.”

“I want to continue to work for the company. I love working there. Just accommodate me, that’s all I’m asking for,” she said. 

The company declined 8News’ request for an interview on Monday. However, in a statement, after saying they can’t publicly discuss specific employee information, spokesperson Mark Hubbard said most of their employees’ work can’t be done off site for “regulatory and/or legal reasons.” He explains administrative team members may be working with sensitive information.

As for non-administrative work he says many roles in the entertainment and hospitality business are unable to be preformed offsite. Hubbard’s statement explains that whenever possible accommodations are being made to work schedules.

“We recognize team members are juggling many responsibilities including remote learning requirements for their children in local school districts,” Hubbard said. “We have gone to extensive lengths to look for creative solutions and mutual agreements while approaching each situation individually​.”

Hubbard says they have made accommodations in the case of the New Kent team member that 8News inquired about.

In a separate statement addressing the COVID-19 exposure at the facility, Hubbard said, in part, that they don’t believe any employees were within six feet of the person for more than fifteen minutes.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we issued a ‘potentially exposed’ letter providing notice and requesting team members to monitor for symptoms,” Hubbard said. “In a separate communication, we reminded team members of our self-screening protocol for all team members to evaluate their health prior to coming to work and to stay home from work if they are not feeling well or showing any symptoms of the virus.”

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