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US CEO sacks 900 staff over Zoom

Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton

The boss of American mortgage website has apologised for the way he sacked 900 workers during a Zoom video call, saying he made a blunder and failed to show his employees respect. About 15 per cent of the company’s employees in the US and India were abruptly laid off as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Vishal Garg, the head of, can be heard saying in the video 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,”. He began the announcement by saying the market had changed and the company had to move with it in order to survive.

“This isn’t news you are going to want to hear. But ultimately, it was my decision and I wanted you to hear it from me. 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. The last time I did it, I cried. This time I hope to be stronger,” Mr Garg said.

He told the affected workers that they would receive about a month’s pay and three months of benefits, and that human resources would reach out to them via their personal email accounts.

Although this is legally acceptable in the US, in the UK, this would be unlawful as there are “vital statutory protections” for workers facing redundancy, including the right to be consulted individually as well as collectively – depending on the numbers involved.

Employers are expected to act with compassion and with the employee’s wellbeing in mind. Where employers fail to follow proper procedures and policies, they open themselves up to potential claims of unfair dismissal.

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