Vishal Garg, CEO of the mortgage company Better.com, laid off about 9% of his total workforce over a zoom call. He abruptly informed over 900 employees attending a Zoom call that they were being terminated right before the holidays.
In a recording of the call, viewed by CNN, Garg said, “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.”
He then informed the employees that they could expect an email from HR with the benefits and severance details.
The CFO Kevin Ryan told CNN Business, “Having to conduct layoffs is gut-wrenching, especially this time of year. However, a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market.”
Market efficiency, productivity, and performance were the reasons behind the layoff, as cited by Garg. A report by Fortune said that Garg had accused the employees of stealing from their customers and colleagues by working only two hours a day and being unproductive.
Over the short and emotionless Zoom call, Garg said. “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.” The diversity, equity, and inclusion recruiting team were also among those who were fired.
An email that Garg had sent to the staff was obtained by Forbes which had gotten Garg into controversy before. In an email, Garg wrote, “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.”
An August report by The Daily Beast stated that Garg had provided massive perks worth millions to one of his “most loyal lieutenants” – a person who had been later placed on administrative leave for bullying.