Working at a call center sucks. Like, it universally sucks, and everybody knows it. That's what makes the story of the loyal New York City employee who was just suspended for 20 days for allegedly answering incoming calls with a robot voice so frustrating. C'mon guys, let the bored employees have a little bit of fun.
The call center worker, a Brooklyn-native named Robert Dillon, says he was just trying to do his job well. The city's Health Department, where Dillon has worked since 1976 without a single disciplinary problem, argues that the employee was speaking to customers in a "slow, monotone and over-enunciated manner." That's how robots talk, evidently.
This may have been partially true. One concerned citizen called in to say that "a new automated answering system… had hung up when she heard 'the robot' answer the phone because she needed to speak to a human about her issues." Dillon, the employee who answered the call, is definitely a human. He is also a human who says he was just following orders. "They objected to the tone of my voice so I made it atonal," he said. The judge explained further in her decision, "[Dillon] contended that he articulates each word because he speaks fast and has a Brooklyn accent, which is sometimes difficult to understand."
As someone who's lived in Brooklyn for over five years, I can confirm that this fact is true. The accent can be tough! Nevertheless, the judge ultimately decided that Dillon was just another disgruntled employee and ruled that he receive a 31-day suspension. That was later reduced to 20-days.
All that said, one can only wonder how long it will take the Health Department to fire all of its human employees and replace them with robots. Because that sort of thing really is happening these days.
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