US boss sacks 900 employees over Zoom!!Well, I’m shocked, three weeks out from Xmas, only in America as the saying goes.
US boss sacks 900 employees over Zoom
I could believe it when i read this article. I thought i have to write something on this. This about as strong as a unfair dismissal as it gets. In the U.S. they do not have these laws to protect their workforce. There are trade off’s between the employer who has put captial at risk and the rights of the employee to earn a hassle free continued income.
Outline of the sackings
The boss of a US firm has been criticized after he sacked around 900 of his staff on a single Zoom call. You reckon! “If you’re on this call you’re part of the unlucky group being laid off,” said Vishal Garg, chief executive of mortgage firm Better.com, on the call, later uploaded to social media. Comments on social media said it was “cold”, “harsh” and “a horrible move”, especially in the run up to Christmas. “Last time I did [this] I cried,” Mr Garg told the staff on the call.
“I wish the news were different. I wish we were thriving,” he said. This time his tone was measured and he referred to notes on the desk in front of him. Mr Garg said staff performance and productivity, and market changes lay behind the mass-firing of what he said was 15% of Better.com’s workforce. He didn’t mention the $750m (£565m) cash infusion Better.com received from investors last week.
Better.com’s chief finance officer, Kevin Ryan, told the BBC: “Having to conduct layoffs is gut-wrenching, especially this time of year.” He added, however, that having “a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce” was necessary to take on the “radically evolving homeownership market”.
After the firing Fortune magazine confirmed that Mr Garg was the author of a previously written anonymous blog post in which he accused sacked staff at his firm of “stealing” from their colleagues and customers by being unproductive and only working two hours a day, while claiming for eight or more. The company, which aims to use technology to make the house buying process “faster and more efficient”, is backed by Japanese conglomerate Softbank and is worth around $6bn (£4.53bn).https://news.yahoo.com/us-boss-fires-900-employees-185041934.html
Wouldn’t Happen Here
US boss sacks 900 employees over Zoom, would not happen in Australia. The Fair work Act, and the Commission decisions that flow from these prohibit this type of approach. The reality is the US does not have unfair dismissal laws as we know it. (their laws prohibit discrimination). The US economy is the most dynamitic in the world. (Japan has the most advanced, China has plenty of cheap labor). It ramps up very quickly, adjust and reacts to changing circumstances with speed, far better than Australia, no doubt about this. So why haven’t we adopted the same approach here?. Its about the human cost.
Those 900 employees, their families, what’s the impact this decision and the way it was implemented, going to have, financially, psychologically?. All this in a country where a good percentage of people carry guns around!
Cannot get sacked, dismissed in the first two years of employment
Europe is the other way. In France, Greece you cannot get sacked, dismissed in the first two years of employment. So in many instances companies aren’t to keen to put people on for what’s could be perceived as a temporary high in the economy (Xmas, Easter, sale days etc). Because they cannot get rid of you. Good if you’ve got a job, you have the security that goes with that. But young people, Muslim youth, older people not not given a bit of a start. They don’t get the opportunity, the ability to prove yourself, that your worth training because the employer cannot move you on if its not working out.
US boss sacks 900 employees over Zoom. So what’s the answer?
I think Australia’s got it about right. Work for a company of less 15 employees you have be employed twelve months before you can lodge a unfair dismissal claim. If the company employees 15 employees or more, the qualifying period is six months. I get it, if your the employee that been terminated and there’s nothing you can do about it, you are distinctly unhappy. Your hopes, happiness, certainty about income dies a sudden death.
Be aware there is a very strictly enforced 21 days to lodge a unfair dismissal or general protections claim. Unless you have what’s referred to as exceptional circumstances (which are few), your stuck. Another option if your outside the 21 day rule is to lodge a discrimination complaint (only if you have a legitimate claim). This is with the relevant commission or tribunal, there is a loosely enforced twelve month rule that applies.
Allows young people to get experience
However this approach allows employers to put employees on to trial them, and then hopefully they get longer term tenure. It allows young people to get experience. Older people to still have some opportunity. Women to return to work after being off for some time. Interestingly enough employees ring me up and say these are unfair rules.
Without getting into the politics , this was labor party legislation, in the Gillard / Rudd era. So the party for the worker, think these rules are OK. It would be remise of me not to point out you, you still may have a right for lodging a general protections claim, for unlawful dismissal. Your welcome to give us a call regarding this.
The other difficult situation is when your out in the job market, and you have various options, as to who you can go and work for. Or you get two job offers, which one do you take?. Because your don’t want to accept a job offer to only be told after three months, your “not a good fit”, “its just not working out”, we are letting you go. In many instances your simply not sure which job to take, which job to apply for, of course everybody wants to work for an employer that gives you job security, and treats you with respect.
You do not have to agree to a probation period
Be aware you do not have to agree to a probation period, you can have this specifically spelt out in your employment contact. If its not then a probation period automatedly applies. You cannot contract out of the qualifying period set out in the Fair work Act (2009), but it does mean you could have common law rights, in that you can take your employer to court. If the economic loss is significant, if the lost opportunity is there because you gave up other job opportunities, it may be worth perusing. You need advice from an experienced lawyer.
Conclusion: US boss sacks 900 employees over Zoom
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