If you were looking for nominees for “Worst Boss of the Year,” look no further than Better.com CEO Vishal Garg, who is apparently “taking time off” in response to the backlash he’s received for behaving like trash.
Garg landed in hot water earlier this month when he somehow decided it was OK to lay off 900 of the digital mortgage company’s employees, or approximately 9% of its workforce, in a Zoom call before the holidays. But wait, the story doesn’t end there. Garg then went on to accuse “at least 250” of the fired employees of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers on the anonymous social media forum Blind, saying that they only worked two hours but clocked in for more than eight hours.
After facing backlash for his cruelty, including the resignation of top executives, Garg apologised in a public message on Tuesday. While he stood by the layoffs, he said he “blundered the execution” when communicating them.
On Friday, Vice reported that the Better’s board of directors had sent an email to employees informing them that Garg would be taking time off “effective immediately.” In the interim, Better chief financial officer Kevin Ryan will run the company day-to-day. The board also announced that it had hired an independent third-party firm to carry out a “leadership and cultural assessment” and provide recommendations to build a better company culture.
“We have much work to do and we hope that everyone can refocus on our customers and support each other to continue to build a great company and a company we can be proud of,” the board wrote.
Gizmodo reached out to Better to ask for confirmation about whether Garg was stepping away and additional comment but did not receive a response by the time of publication. We’ll make sure to update this blog if we hear back.
As far as the company goes, it announced earlier this week that it was delaying its SPAC deal to go public.
Garg’s behaviour sadly isn’t surprising. Last year, a Forbes report shared a stressful and aggressive email he had sent to employees.
“HELLO — WAKE UP BETTER TEAM,” Garg wrote. “You are TOO DAMN SLOW. You are a bunch of DUMB DOLPHINS and…DUMB DOLPHINS get caught in nets and eaten by sharks. SO STOP IT. STOP IT. STOP IT RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE EMBARRASSING ME.”
In addition, as pointed out by Vice, Garg has also reportedly called one of the company’s top investors “sewage.” When it comes to Indigenous Peoples’ Day, the CEO told employees that they shouldn’t take the day off, but rather work to earn “capital, and therefore our freedom.”
I beg to differ: In this case, and in no doubt countless others that the public is unaware of, Garg is the embarrassment. Only a scumbag would treat people like he does, and I’m glad the employees left at Better will get a well-deserved respite from him. I only hope that company leadership reconsiders having someone like Garg in charge and makes an example out of him. Oh wait, money.