Company that laid off 900 in Zoom call notifies more of layoffs via severance checks

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Online mortgage lender, which laid off 900 people via a Zoom call in December, confirmed that it has laid off a “small number” of additional employees by accidentally notifying them via its payroll app.

According to TechCrunch, the layoffs were supposed to be announced on March 8 but were pushed back to March 9th after the information was leaked to the press.

The snafu occurred after the company forgot to change the date in its employee payroll app — Workday — which led to employees receiving severance checks at 12 a.m. on March 8th, before they had been informed of the reduction. 

Approximately 3,000 workers in the U.S. and India, who make up almost half of the company’s 8000 employees, are being made redundant. TechCrunch added that the severance package reportedly consisted of 60 to 80 days worth of pay.

In an email to employees, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ryan wrote that the company “had to adjust to volatility in the interest rate environment and refinancing market.”

He added that “anyone most directly affected by this announcement should receive a call over the coming days from a member of the Better leadership team.”

In a statement to The Hill, the company said that “despite careful planning, a small number of employees were unintentionally notified of their separation from the company ahead of schedule when severance payment information was made available through either our internal payroll system or their financial institutions.”

“This was certainly not the form of notification that we intended and stemmed from an effort to ensure that impacted employees received severance payments as quickly as possible,” it added.

“Personal, one-to-one calls will continue today in the U.S. and through tomorrow in India to provide every person affected by layoffs with information about this announcement and the significant financial, healthcare and transition support Better will be providing,” the company told The Hill.

The mistake comes just months after CEO Vishal Garg, who founded the company in 2014, faced intense backlash after he laid off 900 staff members via a three-minute Zoom call.

“If you’re on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that is being laid off,” Garg said on the Zoom call. “Your employment here is terminated, effective immediately.”

Garg later took a leave of absence from the company and resumed work in January. He said he used a leave of absence to “reflect on his leadership, reconnect with the values that make Better great and work closely with an executive coach.”

Days before the first layoff, received a $750 million cash infusion ahead of the company going public.

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