Fiat sends office staff home after a worker's death: Reports

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV has sent more staff at its U.S. headquarters home following a report that one worker tested positive for the coronavirus and died.

File photo of a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles worker wearing a protective face mask. (REUTERS)
File photo of a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles worker wearing a protective face mask.

The deceased employee was in his 50s and worked at the company’s main office in Auburn Hills, Michigan, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday, citing unidentified employees. The newspaper said he provided technical support on dyamometers, which are used to measure torque, braking power and fuel economy.

“We have cases of Covid-19 in our business enterprise, however out of respect for employee privacy, we will not provide additional comment," the company said in an emailed statement. It has postponed work associated with test laboratories beginning Monday and will advise employees when operations will resume.

The United Auto Workers union, which represents some employees at the headquarters building, praised the company for sending more staff home.

“Today’s decision by FCA is another important step in following CDC guidelines and helping to flatten the growth of this pandemic and protect the health and safety of our members," Cindy Estrada, the UAW vice president who leads the union’s Fiat Chrysler department, said in a statement.

Fiat Chrysler said March 13 that it asked salaried employees worldwide -- including 14,000 at its Auburn Hills headquarters -- to work from home. The directive varied by department and some workers were still asked to come in to the offices on a rotating schedule for purposes of social distancing.

Earlier this month, a worker at Fiat Chrysler’s transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, tested positive for the coronavirus, and those who worked nearby or may have come in contact with him were sent home to quarantine. A second worker at a Michigan truck plant later also tested positive.

First Published Date: 24 Mar 2020, 09:40 AM IST
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