Better.com’s CEO fired several workers at the website last week when some took “takes a break” off social media and asked to be fired, after being told a new work shift would mean less money.
C.E.O. Jose Abril acknowledged the firings in an article by Gizmodo, which said he made all of them disappear after telling them their new schedule meant they would no longer be getting paid overtime.
According to Gizmodo, workers were employed for more than two years as administrators, consultants and guest speakers for Better.com, and “were told the new hours would mean no pay or overtime”.
The layoffs reportedly occurred at three sites: The Consumer Store in Brooklyn, the Personal Store in Providence, and the Personal Store in Boston.
In an interview with Gizmodo, Abril explained: “We ask them to do certain things. It’s to fulfill certain roles and to deliver results that we expect, but if they do them over a certain period of time, maybe even quite a number of hours, over a long period of time – for example, when you have hundreds of people – you run into the moment where those things didn’t pan out. You’ve worked too much.”
But when workers took to social media – creating a hashtag – to write about the firings, users saw it differently.
Nathaniel Stross (@NathanielStross) In case you needed any further proof that capitalism is a really shitty, demoralizing, unjust system, someone at better.com fired a few dozen people for taking sick time. https://t.co/XcGDSCEKfp
C.C. Williams (@ConorWoods93) Hey @better.com what the hell are you doing?!? I never tweeted so much as two things in my life. I just about died on 3 different occasions in an hour.
Bryce Brunson (@BBrunson) Sick burn from a 15 year old.
Shoutout to the 26 people let go from Better.com pic.twitter.com/lPIc0LIZId
Rebekah Blakney (@RebekahBlakney) The moment I first heard I was terminated from @better.com. Also, it should be noted that if someone pulls the old, “if you’re fired they’ll have more money to buy time off yourself” joke, does anyone believe them? I’ll call BS on you.
The company responded to a request for comment, telling HuffPost, “… Every individual’s decision to take a break reflects their personal needs and circumstances and is a private matter between them and the company.”
It’s not the first time Abril has been in the headlines. In February, Better.com announced that a documentary film was in the works, about “The Worst Day at Better.com in 2011,” when several workers were dismissed. (Abril’s biographical information appears in the “Publicists Wanted” section of the trailer. Better.com is not responding to the controversy around the filming.)