The CEO of an online mortgage lender raised eyebrows after he fired hundreds of his employees during a Zoom call last week, later berating them as lazy and accusing them of stealing from customers.
During a brief webinar last Wednesday, employees of Better.com were shocked to find out that they no longer had jobs when the company’s billionaire founder Vishal Garg dropped a lump of coal into their stockings three weeks before Christmas.
Around 900 now-former workers responded to the meeting request where they were told by their boss, “Thank you for joining, I come to you with not great news, the market has changed as you know and we have to move with it in order to survive so that hopefully we can continue to thrive and continue on our mission.”
“This isn’t news that you’re gonna want to hear but ultimately it was my decision and I wanted you to hear from me, it’s been a really, really challenging decision to make,” he said, noting this isn’t the first time that he has done it, claiming that he cried the last time he engaged in a mass firing.
He continued, “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.”
The meeting was filmed and posted on social media platforms including YouTube where it has since gone viral.
Following the announcement, the employees’ computers were automatically shut down.
“Staffers who hadn’t been able to attend the last-minute conference were left scrambling to figure out why their devices had stopped working. Other employees were on vacation and didn’t know they were out of jobs,” The Daily Beast reported.
The blow was somewhat softened for the terminated employees who will at least receive severance packages an and opportunity to continue receiving their company provided healthcare insurance, although at a higher cost, through COBRA.
Garg’s pre-Christmas downsizing comes after the company received a $750 million infusion of cash from investors.
The CEO later took to the professional networking service blind where he ripped the former employees.
“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?” he said, according to the Daily Mail.
He added, “They were stealing from you and stealing from our customers who pay the bills that pay our bills. Get educated.”
Garg confirmed that he was responsible for the post under an anonymous name. “Speaking to Fortune, Garg – who once threatened to staple a former business partner to a wall and burn him alive, according to court documents – confirmed he had made the comments under the anonymous username ‘uneducated’, but refused to back down. ‘I think they could have been phrased differently, but honestly the sentiment is there,’ he said,” according to the Daily Mail.
Not known for his benevolent treatment of employees, the volatile Garg reportedly once sent an email to office managers stating, “You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
On the bright side, the casualties included the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion recruiting team.
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