Months after drawing criticism for firing over 900 employees over a Zoom call, US-based online mortgage company Better.com is making the rounds again—this time for laying off 3,000 employees or about a third of its workforce.
The company's chief financial officer and interim president Kevin Ryan said that the mass layoffs made were due to a "dramatic drop in origination volume due to rising interest rates."
"Unfortunately, that means we must take the difficult step of streamlining our operations further and reducing our workforce in both the US and India in a substantial way," Ryan wrote in a letter to employees. "This decision is driven heavily by the headwinds affecting the residential real estate market."
Mortgage interest rates dropped amid the COVID-19 pandemic and have recently risen again.
The company was supposedly going to notify the affected employees personally over call to avoid criticisms similar to the December 2021 firing conducted by CEO Vishal Garg over Zoom. However, TechCrunch reported that some workers were unintentionally notified about their firing when they saw severance payslips on their payroll accounts.
"Better layoffs have started. Severance showing in our Workday app (which is payroll) as of 12 AM respective timezones. No email, no call, nothing. This was handled disgustingly," an employee, who wishes to remain anonymous, told the tech site.
In response to this, the company said that they did not intend for this to happen. "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 said.
Better.com is offering a minimum of 60 days severance pay and extended medical insurance coverage to departing employees. It also said that it will provide a "suite of services" to help those affected find their next jobs.
In December 2021, Garg held a video call with 900 Better.com employees. "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 said.
The company founder came under fire for this and apologized for the way he executed his actions. He reportedly took time off and returned in mid-January.