Vishal Garg, CEO of the US Firm, Better.com, has faced recent criticism for firing around 900 Better.com employees in one single Zoom call.
Mr Garg made the announcement at the beginning of December and is reported to have told all employees on the call:
“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”.
Mr Garg stated that this decision had been made as a result of staff performance, productivity and market changes. He stated:
“…this is the second time in my career that I’m doing this and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it I cried.”
Mr Garg’s management style has previously been criticised following an email that he sent to staff last year. The email read:
“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”.
It was reported that Better.com had recruited high numbers of staff during the pandemic but they acknowledged that they had failed by overhiring.
Mr Garg’s behaviour has been heavily criticised for his lack of empathy, particularly as the announcement was made to employees so close to Christmas.
In comparison, there are more protections for employees under UK employment law to prevent mass-firings like the one demonstrated by Vishal Garg in the US. The right not to be unfairly dismissed is a statutory right under the Employment Rights Act 1996 and there are requirements for an employer to follow a fair procedure when dismissing an employee.
Employers should carry out these procedures with empathy and consider what reputational damage could occur if they do not carry out a fair procedure when dismissing an employee.
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