Employees at the digital mortgage lender Better.com reportedly learned that they have been laid off when their severance checks suddenly appeared in their payroll app. Last year the company’s bumbling CEO, Vishal Garg, faced massive backlash after laying off other employees via a mass Zoom meeting.

TechCrunch reports that mass layoff at the digital mortgage lender Better.com have begun, with many employees accidentally learning they were out of a job when their severance checks appeared in their Workday account — the payroll app used by the company. Apparently, many such checks dropped days before the company planned to inform the employees that they had been laid off.

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg

Better.com CEO Vishal Garg (Better.com)

The layoffs were to be announced on March 9 but one employee told TechCrunch that “they accidentally rolled out the severance payslips too early.” When company executives realized that they had already sent out severance checks, they deleted them from some employees’ Workday accounts.

The employee told TechCrunch that the severance check arrived without any communication from the company or a statement on their termination. The employee stated: “Better Layoffs have started. Severance showing in our Workday app (which is payroll) as of 12 AM respective time zones. No email, no call, nothing. This was handled disgustingly.”

The employee, who had previously suspected that the layoffs were coming, stated: “Leadership remained absolutely silent, never acknowledged anything in regards to layoffs. They still haven’t.”

It’s estimated that 3,000 of the company’s 8,000 employees in the United States and India are being laid off. TechCrunch previously heard rumors that the number was closer to 4,000 workers, or about half of the overall employee population. A company spokesperson later confirmed to TechCrunch that “just over 3,000” employees had been laid off.

Better.com CFO Kevin Ryan emailed employees that mistakenly received the severance check, stating that the company “had to adjust to volatility in the interest rate environment and refinancing market.” He added: “Unfortunately, that means we must take the difficult step of streamlining our operations further and reducing our workforce in both the U.S. and India in a substantial way.”

Ryan also stated that the company would not be enforcing any existing non-compete provisions but that non-disclosure provisions would remain in effect. “This has not been an easy few months, and I want to express my sincere thanks to every member of the Better team for your hard work and focus,” he added. “Our strongest days lie ahead.”

It appears the majority of communication is coming from CFO Kevin Ryan and not company CEO Vishal Garg, who faced extreme backlash after a video of the CEO laying off 900 employees during a Zoom meeting went viral in December 2021.

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