Ho Ho No: A holiday bevy of bullying and bad boss stories

Well folks, ’tis the season. For workplace bullies and toxic bosses, I mean. This year’s top Scrooge may well be Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com, who used a Zoom call last week to lay off the 900 workers who were summoned to be on the call. As reported by Samantha Lock for the Guardian (link here):

The chief executive of a US mortgage company has drawn criticism after he reportedly fired 900 employees on a Zoom call.

“I come to you with not great news,” Vishal Garg, CEO of Better.com, is heard saying at the beginning of the video call made on Wednesday last week. Footage of the call was widely circulated on social media.

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group being laid off. Your employment here is terminated effective immediately,” Garg continued, citing changes in the market, “efficiency” and “productivity” as the reasons behind the mass termination.

Word of the layoffs-by-Zoom went viral, and public reaction was harsh. As reported by Emma Goldberg for the New York Times (link here):

Better.com’s mercurial chief executive, Vishal Garg, faced swift backlash for his decision to fire more than 900 employees on a Zoom call last week. The mortgage lender’s board announced in a memo sent to staff on Friday that Mr. Garg was “taking time off” after the “very regrettable events.”

Goldberg goes on to interview one of the laid off workers about the experience of being on the Zoom call:

Christian Chapman, 41, a former underwriting trainer at Better.com, said he was used to preparing for company meetings by making sure his children weren’t around, because Mr. Garg tended to use foul language. But last Wednesday, when he received an unexpected invitation to the company call with Mr. Garg, he got a sense of foreboding because the chief executive looked so solemn.

As Mr. Garg impassively delivered the news, Mr. Chapman said his “gut dropped to the floor,” and he tried to message teammates to ask what was happening but his computer access was shut off almost immediately.

…On Thursday, the company increased his termination package from one to two months of pay. He also received a Christmas package containing a trophy, certificate and company T-shirt (which his wife offered to burn).

***

Vishal Garg is but one among many examples of awful workplace behavior. For more, BuzzFeed has done roundups of stories about workplace bullies and horrific bosses:

  • 15 Toxic Workplace Bullies Who Should Be Banned From Working With Other Humans (BuzzFeed, via Yahoo! Life) (link here)
  • 19 Horrific Bosses in 2021 That Made People Say, “Screw It — I’m Working From Home Forever (BuzzFeed, via Yahoo! Life) (link here)

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