No Way Out
It was just before Christmas, and hundreds of unexpecting employees were suddenly stuck without jobs.
The CEO made a quick, dry announcement that left them all speechless before he started tossing around his insulting comments. He had no idea that one of the disgruntled workers recorded the entire meeting. There was no amount of DNRs or secretive meetings that would save him now.
Kevin had heard the swirl of rumors going around for weeks now. They made their way around the many floors and extensive offices (both physical and digital) until there wasn’t a person left in the company who didn’t know.
The rumor had something to do with money and a lot of it.
It couldn’t come at a better time. Christmas was right around the corner, and even if no one got a raise, the idea of job security at least took a thick layer of stress off his shoulders.
So, when everyone was called to a Zoom meeting, he didn’t think anything of it. Maybe it was just updates like usual? Boy, was he wrong.
The 900 people present had turned their mics, and video feeds off. There was only the CEO, Vishal Garg, left visible.
He started with, “I come to you with not-so-great news.” Kevin held his breath and felt his heart rate double. “If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group being laid off. Your employment here is terminated, effective immediately.”
Kevin felt his world fall away.
His oldest needed braces, the middle child was growing like a weed and needed new clothes, and the youngest was still on formula and diapers. Now, all of a sudden, he wouldn’t be able to pay for any of that. Add Christmas expenses on top of it all. This was a nightmare. The CEO continued…
Me, Me, Me
“This is the second time I’m doing this in my career, and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried,” Garg said. “Um, this time, I hope to be stronger.”
Seriously?! Was this man making this about him? He wasn’t the one suddenly out of a paycheck. Then the next kicker came - they would only get one month’s wages and three months' benefits as severance. But it was about to get worse.
Even Veterans Gone
The Zoom call erupted with questions and angry comments.
Some of the people there had been with the company since the beginning. They had poured their hearts and souls into their jobs – things like working extra hours for no pay. And what about the huge cash infusion the mortgage business had just received?
Lack Of Empathy
The lack of empathy from Garg was appalling. He might’ve spoken about crying the last time he had to let people go, but from the look on his face, it was clear that he felt nothing.
His employees were just put out on the street, and they had no idea how they would continue until they found new jobs. But he didn’t seem to care at all.
A Leaked Email
It was later found that Garg actually wrote an anonymous blog post in which he accused employees of stealing from their co-workers because they were clocking in but not working.
And in an email that was later leaked, Garg referred to his employees as “a bunch of dumb dolphins” who are “too damn slow.”
After the fateful zoom meeting, Garg arranged another meeting with the rest of his staff members. He claimed that the company had overhired during the pandemic and that they hired the wrong people.
He claimed that because of that, they “failed.” He also said he “failed” and had not been “disciplined over the last 18 months.”
Whatever the case, firing 900 people over a zoom meeting and not giving them any notice was definitely not the way to go about things.
Everyone’s contract stipulated what was to happen if it had to be terminated, and there are usually time frames both the employee and employer have to stick to.
Not Caring About The Impact
It was also clear that Garg didn’t care about the impact such termination would have on his employees and their families. Christopher, one of the people who was terminated, had five children to feed.
Others like Kevin had a tough time making it through the holiday season with the money they were supposed to make.
Laws To Follow
And besides all that, there were laws that needed to be followed. In some countries, a notice period of thirty days was enough. In others, the notice period was longer.
But Garg didn’t care about those laws. He went ahead and fired everyone without giving any notice at all.
Unfortunately for Garg, he didn’t know he was being recorded. Not only was it sent out to every staff member of the entire company, but they also made a point of sending it to any news outlet that would listen.
Kevin shook with anger as he sat in front of his keyboard, typing his own angry thoughts and experiences. He had to do it quickly before their emails were blocked.
While a massive chunk of workers was being fired for whatever reason, many in the higher echelons had resigned on their own. They did it as a sign of solidarity!
Among the people who resigned was the head of marketing, the head of public relations, and the vice president of communications.
The public apology, if that’s what you could call it, was just as bad! Garg coldly apologized for the way he had handled it, saying he would “talk more next time.”
Really? He thought his only mistake was that he needed to elaborate more. He had said more than enough in the insulting 3 minutes! Then, he tried to backtrack by claiming that it was “the metrics that matter most” for next year’s goal.
“Having to conduct layoffs is gut-wrenching, especially this time of year. However, a fortress balance sheet with a reduced and focused workforce set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market. I think things could have been phrased differently, but honestly, the sentiment is there.”
That was the internal memo forwarded from people who still worked there.
This was a 7-billion-dollar company that was just given an extra $750 million to stay afloat. Clearly, they only cared about money and not the workers, despite the nonsense company PR expression about “caring for their employees like family.”
When the next peep out of the CEO finally came, Kevin couldn’t believe it.
Apparently, Garg was going to take “time off effective immediately.”
It seemed the CEO and founder were tucking their tail back and running away. There wasn’t much solace to the situation – except the endless string of angry comments that plagued the man’s social media accounts. There wasn’t much left for Kevin to do. He needed to find a new job and quickly.
Talk Is Cheap
Even though Garg decided to take some time off and publicly apologized, he had not learned his lesson.
It didn’t take long for him to get frustrated with his business and staff again, and once more, the staff members were the ones who suffered the most because of it.
Same Thing Happened Again
It was only a short while later when another notice was passed around. But this time would be so much worse than the last.
Even though firing 900 employees at once caused a considerable uproar, Grag decided it was time for him to fire some more. This time there would be approximately 4,000 heads on the chopping block.
He did handle it better that time around, though. Instead of calling a mass zoom meeting and telling the attendees they were there to get fired- he went with a simpler approach.
Grag asked one of his other employees to send out a mass email to the 4,000 people who were about to be unemployed and to explain to them why he chose to go down that path.
In the email the company sent out, it was said that the industry was facing a major drop due to rising interest rates. It later said that it had to streamline its operations and that it would have to reduce its workforce because of it.
It mentioned that it had nothing to do with personal performance. But that offered no solace to the people who were axed.
The email also mentioned that “Affected employees will be eligible for a minimum of 60 working days - and as much as 80 working days - of cash severance payments,” which was better than nothing, we suppose.
But for the 4,000 people suddenly sitting without a job, it probably didn’t offer much hope for the future.
The email mentioned that all those affected by the terminations would be contacted privately. However, that wasn’t the case for everyone.
Yes, some of them had been contacted about their termination, but for others, it was a different story altogether, and it came as a major shock.
Sadly, some people had not been notified of their termination and only found out about it when they saw the severance payments coming into their bank accounts.
We don’t know what’s worse, receiving a letter of termination or finding out about it thanks to your bank statement.
Promised Direct Contact
The message clearly said they would be contacted directly, so they must’ve assumed they were part of the group who was lucky enough to keep their jobs.
And it must’ve been crushing to discover they were wrong about it the entire time. It was a low blow and should’ve been handled better.
A Lot Of Excuses
Even though the company had many reasons for terminating so many contracts, it must've sounded like a bunch of excuses to those who lost their jobs.
It was only recently that 900 people were fired over the Zoom meeting after all. Somehow it just makes the whole situation seem rather fishy.
The email received by the employees that were fired was shared with one of their co-workers who weren't on the list.
It was that co-worker who decided to go public with it and let the world know that the company had fired even more employees in such a short amount of time.
We are unsure of what the consequences were for this round of terminations. However, we can safely assume that the employees were struck just as hard as the 900 who were let go before them.
Losing your job, your only source of income, is something that can’t be dealt with easily.
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author's imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.