'It's such an emotional catastrophe' | Charlotte woman among Better.com employees fired over Zoom

Charlotte workers among those abruptly fired in a Zoom call by CEO Vishal Garg, who has since apologized for the way he handled the announcement.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Misty Morin was excited for her first day back from family leave on Dec. 1. She had no idea it would also be her last day working for Better.com.

Morin, who started working at the Charlotte office in March 2021, said she and some of her colleagues were sent an emergency meeting notice from the online mortgage company's CEO, Vishal Garg.

When Morin hopped on the Zoom call, she couldn't see other employees. She had no idea she was one of 900 Better.com workers about to be laid off.

RELATED: Reports: CEO fires 900 employees over Zoom call, viral video shows

"It took about three minutes, from start to end," Morin said. "We're all left gutted, and like just heartbroken before the holidays."

Immediately after the call, Morin said her company computer screen went black and she was cut off from communicating with her colleagues. Luckily, she said, she had some of their personal information and could still speak to them.

"We were trying to type in the team chat, like, 'You know, what's going on?'" Morin said. "Maybe your manager has more insight, but we were completely shut out."

Charlotte job fair for former Better.com employees

Better.com recently opened an office in Charlotte. In 2019, they announced the intention to hire 100 employees that first year and a thousand more within five years. They had moved into the WeWork space at South End’s RailYard.

It's unclear how many in that office were included in this massive layoff. One of those Charlotteans on the call was Demi Knight Clark.

"I think everyone was just in a state of disbelief," Knight Clark told WCNC Charlotte's Mike Hanson. "I think there were some thoughts that this was not normal."

Knight Clark and the City of Charlotte's Economic Development Team soon found themselves in a meeting on how to help those impacted by the layoffs.

As a result, a virtual job fair was created for next Monday. The virtual job fair will be held privately for former Better.com employees. More information and an application to register are now available online.

"They want the talent to stay in Charlotte," she explained. "Monday we have a job fair with six different companies: All-State, Microsoft, Avid Exchange, Robinhood, and Intercontinental Exchange Group."

Knight Clark, whose nonprofit She Built This City has previously been featured by WCNC Charlotte, believes by helping others reach new employment, her future will take care of itself.

"I focus on taking care of other people and givers, and if I'm putting that energy out into the world I'm going to be just fine," she said.

Better.com CEO apologies for announcing layoffs over Zoom

News of Garg's decision to break the news to his employees about their jobs over Zoom quickly spread across the internet, making national headlines earlier this week. 

Morin said she had no idea the announcement would go viral.

"Layoffs happen, right?" Morin said. "It's, unfortunately, a part of the business model, but the lack of humanity that he showed, and has continued to show after the fact, that's what makes it the worst, and that's why it's garnered so much attention."

On Tuesday, Garg sent a new message to employees and the public, apologizing for the way he handled the layoffs.

Morin said she and her former Better.com colleagues have stayed in touch the last few days, passing along job openings they see in the hopes of landing something before Christmas.

She said she even sent a personal email to Garg after the layoffs, but got a generic response back from the CEO.