The host will fire you now: CEO fires 900 staffers in one brief video call

He later went online to accuse some of them of 'stealing.'
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Francis Scialabba

· 3 min read

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In today’s world of hybrid work, a virtual meeting can unexpectedly become a very real termination. That’s exactly what unfolded for employees of the online mortgage broker last week, when the company’s CEO informed 900 workers—comprising at least 9% of the total staff—of their immediate terminations over a one-way video call.

The call lasted less than 10 minutes, according to a Fortune report, but its reverberations have echoed for much longer.

Please wait for the host to lay you off.’s CEO, Vishal Garg, summoned part of his staff to the call last Wednesday, and immediately notified them of their imminent march toward the professional abyss. In the video, which was recorded by an employee and subsequently shared via a variety of news outlets and posted to YouTube, Garg initially cited external conditions, such as the housing market, in addition to productivity, as the impetus for the layoffs.

“If you are on this call, you are part of the unlucky group that’s being laid off,” Garg said in the video. “Your employment here is terminated, effective immediately.”

Garg began the call speaking of his personal difficulties. He can be seen saying, “This is the second time in my career that I’m doing this, and I do not want to do this. The last time I did it, I cried. This time I hope to be stronger.” The billionaire CEO, who has been criticized for his “volatile” temperament,  has also been accused of fraud in various lawsuits against him or “entities he controls,” detailed in a Forbes report last year.

Garg denies the allegations. Asked about last week’s layoffs,’s CFO Kevin Ryan told HR Brew via email: “Having to conduct layoffs is gut wrenching, especially this time of year, however a fortress balance sheet and a reduced and focused workforce together set us up to play offense going into a radically evolving homeownership market.”

To be sure, terminating employees via video chat is increasingly common since the start of the pandemic. In one notable example, Uber laid off 3,500 customer support roles over Zoom in May 2020, though those staff trimmings occurred over the course of multiple calls.

Slinging mud online. In the immediate aftermath of the layoffs, the website Blind featured multiple messages from anonymous commenters claiming to be former and current staffers at, in addition to employees at other companies, venting about the layoffs—and they’ve been joined by Garg. In a series of posts, Garg accused laid-off workers of “stealing,” reported Fortune. In one, he wrote that “250 of the people terminated were working an average of 2 hours a day while clocking in 8 hours+ a day in the payroll system.” The CEO confirmed to Fortune that he was the author of the posts in question.—SB

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Contact Sam Blum via the encrypted messaging apps Signal and Telegram (@SamBlum_Brew) or simply email [email protected].

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