US mortgage lending startup Better.com fired 900 employees via a Zoom webinar with no prior notice and just days before the holidays. The firm’s CEO accused them of “stealing” from colleagues and customers by being unproductive.
“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 firm’s CEO Vishal Garg said in a Zoom webinar last week, according to CNN Business, which saw the recording.
Garg said the company is firing about 9% of its workforce, which is roughly 900 people. CFO Kevin Ryan attempted to soften the blow in a statement to CNN Business, writing that “having to conduct layoffs is gut wrenching, especially this time of year,” but said that the step was necessary to keep the firm afloat in “a radically evolving homeownership market.”
Garg, however, said the decision was driven by inadequate market efficiency, performance and productivity, with Fortune later reporting he plainly accused the terminated employees of “stealing” from both colleagues and customers by being unproductive and working a mere two hours a day.
“This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried,” Garg stated further in the call.
It’s not the first time Garg has lashed out at his employees, too. According to a Forbes report, he called them “dumb dolphins” for being “too damn slow” in an email he sent to staff earlier this year.
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