Unlike nearly 1,000 of her former colleagues, Sarah Pierce didn’t get canned by mortgage lender Better.com via mass Zoom call just before Christmas. Nor was she among those who found out they were unemployed via unexplained severance check three months later, because she had been fired the month before. And unlike those let go for “stealing” from the company by being lazy or because its rosy projections for itself weren’t panning out, Pierce says she got the heave-ho for gently suggesting that Better.com and CEO Vishal Garg not issue those projections simply to save its SPAC deal, because they were untrue.
The company lost $304 million last year, according to company filings. Last winter, Mr. Garg allegedly told the company’s board and investors that the company would become profitable again by the end of the first quarter in 2022, according to the lawsuit. Ms. Pierce said her operations team, in partnership with the company’s finance department, had presented internal projections to Mr. Garg that showed the company couldn’t expect to break even until at least the second half of this year…. Ms. Pierce also alleges in the suit that the company had overstated the strength of its brand in financial filings relating to its potential merger.
Of course, no wrongful termination lawsuit worth its salt is complete without the airing of tangentially-related dirty laundry, especially with an antagonist as, let’s say colorful, as Garg, and Pierce’s doesn’t disappoint.
He allegedly replaced one of the words in the acronym for the accounting phrase, GAAP, or “generally accepted accounting principles” with a profanity. He told other executives at Better.com that interest rates would stay low because President Biden would contract Covid-19 and die, according to the suit. Another former Better.com executive said they also remembered the GAAP comments and Mr. Garg’s expectations that unforeseen events would keep rates low…. Mr. Garg allegedly repeatedly defied advice from other executives regarding the mass Zoom layoff in December, leading the company to likely violate the California Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, which requires employees receive 60 days notice in advance of mass layoffs, the suit said.
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