A CEO at an online startup fired over 900 workers in a brutal Zoom conference. Then he criticized them for not being able to keep up with customers and blaming them for being too lazy.
Vishal Garg fired around 9 percent of the workforce at Better.com last Wednesday. This includes its whole diversity, equity, and inclusion team that deals with workplace discrimination and racism.
Garg said bluntly that this was not news you want to hear… If you’re listening to Garg on the phone, then you will be part of the unfortunate group being laid off. Effective immediately, your employment is ended here.
Garg warned staff about what was ahead during the three-minute call. He said: “I am here with bad news. As you all know, the market has changed and we must adapt in order to stay relevant and to fulfill our mission.
‘This isn’t news that you’re going to want to hear. However, it was mine. You should hear my thoughts. It’s been a really, really challenging decision to make.
‘This is the second time in my career I’m doing this and I do not do not want to do this. It was hard for me to do it the last time. This time I want to be more resilient. We are laying off about 15% of the company for a number of reasons — the market, efficiency and performances and productivity.’ The boss was later wronged by a company spokesperson who said the real percentage of those laid off had been nine percent.
Better.com’s controversial CEO Vishal Garg, 43, fired 900 employees over a Zoom call claiming market fluctuations performance, and productivity. Softbank backed the mortgage lender and it received $750 million in cash last week. This comes after it announced in May that it would be going public via a Special Purpose Acquisition Company.
The call was filmed by one worker who had been fired and posted it online. They cursed at Garg (who owns more than $1 billion) as they discussed the massive layoffs at Better.com. Better.com’s headquarters is located in Manhattan’s World Trade Center.
The unidentified male worker could be heard to say ‘F**k you dude. Are you f**king kidding me?’
Garg, a married father of children, took the blame for market fluctuations despite receiving a $750million cash injection last week.
He also mentioned issues regarding ‘performance’ and productivity and posted a blog in which he criticized his employees for their idleness.
He said, “You know that 250 people were terminated worked an average of two hours per day and clocked 8+ hours in the payroll system?”
They were taking from you and our customers, who are the ones paying our bills. “Get educated,” he said.
Garg (43 years old) also stated that market efficiency, productivity, and performance were the reasons for firings. He added that the company had to “move in order for it to survive.”
TechCrunch reached out to Better.com to inquire more about the mass-firing. A spokesperson for Better.com refused to address the matter further, other than to point out the number of people who lost their jobs at the meeting.
Softbank backed Better has received a $750m cash injection last week. This comes after the company announced in May that it was going public with a Special Purpose Acquisition Company. It now stands at $7 billion.
Garg has been a frequent target of controversy. Forbes received emails last year in which Garg called his employees “too damn lazy”. The Daily Beast published an August report that Garg threatened to kill his business partner.
Garg was further discredited by news reports that Garg had accused the CEO of stealing and being inefficient by accusing workers of working for two hours a day and clocking eight+.
Better.com claims it offers ‘fast and low-cost approvals for mortgages’.
Garg made the following statement to the network after the firings: “Having to perform layoffs was gut-wrenching especially at this time of year.”
“However, we have a strong balance sheet as well as a smaller and more focused workforce that allows us to take advantage of the rapidly changing homeownership market.
It’s not news you want to hear… Garg announced abruptly on the phone that you were part of the unfortunate group being laid off. Your employment is ended immediately.
He said that he thought they might have been phrased differently but the sentiment was there.
Garg expressed sadness during the Zoom call, which resulted in 900 people being fired.
“This is my second attempt at this in my professional career and it’s not something I want to do. Last time, it was so difficult that I wept. Garg stated that this time, she hoped to be more resilient.
Garg was criticized for not being fair to employees. He often accused subordinates of being too slow’.
Forbes obtained an email last year from him claiming that he told his staff, “You’re TOO DAMN SLOW.” It’s a group of dumb DOLPHINS… SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT. I AM EMBARRASSED BY YOU.
The Daily Beast reported in August that Elana Knoller was Garg’s close executive and received stocks worth millions. She also got $8,000 per monthly for her two properties, as well as other perks.
Knoller was placed on administrative leave due to bullying.
The Daily Beast also reported that Garg told a former business partner that he was ‘going to staple him against a f**king wall and burn him alive.’