The boss of an online mortgage lending company has come under fire as callous and heartless after he unceremoniously fired about 900 staff members in the run-up to the holidays – all on one single Zoom call.
Vishal Garg, the chief executive of New York-based mortgage firm Better.com, didn’t mince words in the call, telling employees:
“This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear … If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately.”
Adding that he did “not want to do this,” he explained that “this is the second time in my career I’m doing this … The last time I did it, I cried.”
While the 43-year-old CEO claimed that the mass sacking was a painful ordeal, he also noted that the “market has changed” and the company required streamlining to deal with the cool-off in the recent housing boom.
However, Garg neglected to mention that the company recently received $750 million from investors just last week.
According to Fortune, the chief executive also was the anonymous author of a blistering blog post to professional network Build that put his own employees on blast.
“You guys know that at least 250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system?” Garg wrote, adding that “they were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”
Garg also has come under fire for his poor management approach and history of abusing workers after an email he sent to employees was published by Forbes last year.
“You are TOO DAMN SLOW,” the CEO wrote. “You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
Regardless of his personal frustrations with employees, social media users were stunned by news of the mass firing, calling the move “cold,” “a horrible move,” and “harsh” – especially with Christmas around the corner.
Employment law and business experts have also lambasted Garg’s actions, noting that such mass firings run counter to the law in most countries, and are not only abusive but destructive toward morale, despite being perfectly legal in the United States.
“Existing employees will look to how the company treats people as a signal to how it will treat them in the future,” Gemma Dale of the Liverpool John Moores University in the UK told the BBC.
“There are ways to do these things which, even in difficult conditions, are empathetic and decent,” she added. “There is a right way to do these things both morally and legally.”
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