Indiabulls’ e-commerce platform Yaari has laid off around 150 employees, accounting for about 60 percent of its entire workforce, over the last 30 days, as it readies itself to merge with Dhani Services, another Indiabulls' company, according to sources in the know.
"The management took an overnight decision to shut down business operations of Yaari and shifted us to Dhani division," an employee told Moneycontrol, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"A few days later I get my termination letter," the employee added.
Moneycontrol spoke to at least three other employees of the company who confirmed the development.
News agency Inc 42 reported this first. An email sent to Yaari's chief executive officer Kubeir Khera did not elicit an immediate response.
A former employee, requesting anonymity said, “In the month of April, they started giving us individual calls on WhatsApp saying that there are some critical issues going on in the company and asked us to put in our papers.”
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According to employees, the company did not send them any official email fearing they may use it against the firm.
Another ex-employee said, “When I denied their request, they suddenly asked me to shift to another city in a matter of two-three days. When I asked them to extend the period since I was not well and needed some more time to shift, they reported that I was not up to the task anymore and put me on a performance improvement programme (PIP) for seven days.”
Employees said that seven days is too short for a PIP, claiming that companies put non-performing employees on such programmes generally for about 30 days and above.
“May 12 was decided by the company as the review day to check if there is any improvement in my performance, and out of fear of being terminated I decided to resign voluntarily,” an employee said. Many employees followed suit, the person added.
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Yaari did not give employees any notice period and asked them to move on immediately. As of May 31, a former employee claimed that she did not receive the salary for about 1.5 months and performance-linked incentives of around Rs 1 lakh, which had to be paid by the end of March.
The employee was not alone. She claimed that all her team members were asked to resign, apart from a female co-worker who has a kid. Another colleague who reported from the Delhi office, when refused to resign, was directly handed the termination letter and asked to stop working with immediate effect.
Another former employee said that he sensed red flags in April when employees were asked to pack up all their belongings and work from home suddenly citing the threat of COVID-19 infections. To be sure, the company had denied permission to employees who had requested to work from home in January when India was still reporting lakhs of COVID-19 cases per day, claimed the employee.
Yaari joins the growing list of companies laying off employees. So far in 2022, startups have laid off over 5,500 employees citing a funding crunch. Yaari, run by Yaari Digital Services, is a subsidiary of Indiabulls and is listed on the stock exchanges. The stock ended 1.22 percent down on May 31 on the National Stock Exchange at Rs 36.40 apiece. The stock has fallen over 60 percent since the start of 2022.
(With inputs from Sanghamitra Kar)