Weight Watchers 'fires 4,000 employees on a five-minute Zoom call' despite announcing plan to begin reopening studios after coronavirus lockdown

Fired Weight Watchers employees have claimed that the weight-loss company laid off thousands of staff members over a five-minute Zoom call last week.
The company confirmed it was letting go of an undisclosed number of staff as a result of studio closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
It came despite moves to begin reopening studios as the stay-in-place orders lift across the country. 
Angered staff have gone online to voice their disgust at the way in which long-term employees were unceremoniously let go, with some claiming the number fired was as high as 4,000 people. 
Weight Watchers has said it is taking the opportunity to reassess how it uses studio spaces as it begins reopening post-coronavirus lockdown. The company has failed to disclose how many employees it laid off last week but some former staff have claimed it was up to 4,000 people
Weight Watchers has said it is taking the opportunity to reassess how it uses studio spaces as it begins reopening post-coronavirus lockdown. The company has failed to disclose how many employees it laid off last week but some former staff have claimed it was up to 4,000 people
Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman has said the company is now 'strategically repositioning our Studio business to have a smaller real estate footprint with fewer locations'
Weight Watchers CEO Mindy Grossman has said the company is now 'strategically repositioning our Studio business to have a smaller real estate footprint with fewer locations'
In a statement provided to DailyMail.com, Weight Watchers International did not confirm this figure but said: 'As the COVID-19 crisis has forced the closure of our physical studios around the world, we have had to make some difficult decisions that have directly impacted the lives of some of our valued team members. 
'We thank them for all of their efforts on behalf of our members during their years of service,' the statement added.
'With the accelerated growth of our digital offerings in both our WW app and the launch of Virtual Workshops, we are taking this time to look at our real estate footprint as we begin to safely and cautiously re-open our WW Studios.
'These are challenging but necessary moves to best prepare us for the future as we continue to support our members and meet them where they need us most.'

News of the firings first appeared on the website The Layoff on May 14 where a former employee said thousands had been laid off via a phone call.
There have been hundreds of replies to the posting with some claiming that as many as 4,000 employees were fired. 
Employees wrote that they had been asked via email to attend a mandatory phone call where they were read a script telling them of the layoffs.
They claim they were muted so that they could not ask questions and by the time they call was over, their employee email had already been deleted.
The news about the firings was first posted here and claimed that thousands were laid off
The news about the firings was first posted here and claimed that thousands were laid off
One former employee claimed that they thought the number fired was as high as 4,000 people
One former employee claimed that they thought the number fired was as high as 4,000 people
'For supposed champions of women, to FIRE 4000 dedicated long term mostly women of a certain age bracket during a pandemic in a 3 min phone call is disgusting,' said one anonymous poster.
'They couldn't have furloughed employees? No, they FIRED them.'
One poster named Sherron said that the fired employees had been asked not to discuss the terminations.
'Oh, and you can't discuss this with anyone. No explanation to members as to why we aren't there anymore,' they said.
'No option of furlough, but we could reapply in the future if any positions open. We are being swept under the rug.
'I have been a WW Guide for a little over 3 years, and I am disgusted as to how this was handled.'
Another former employee posted that they were 'disgusted' at how the staff were treated
Another former employee posted that they were 'disgusted' at how the staff were treated
Former employee Jeri Zacarese told DailyMail.com that she had worked for Weight Watchers as a field worker for 14 years in Brooklyn, Queens, and western Nassau County before last week.
'The way this firing was done was unimaginable,' she said.
'For a business that is supposed to be sensitive and show compassion this was cruel. They did not even let us finish out the week or collect belongings. We were told you are no longer needed. The virus was not the cause. We were only working a few zoom meetings. My whole territory was knocked out in 4 minutes.
'Thousands of employees were fired in a 5-minute phone call that was muted,' Zacarese added.
'No questions. We are not furloughed. Exit emails were sent the next day.
'Field employees were originally members that worked the program and then wanted to work. We did not work for the money we loved the members and the program but not management. In my tenure I had 8 managers.'
She claimed that 'everyone except the coaches were fired' and 'the numbers could be way more than the 4,000'. 
Weight Watchers had reported a better-than-expected first quarter loss and despite the coronavirus pandemic, had driven its subscriptions up to a new high
Weight Watchers had reported a better-than-expected first quarter loss and despite the coronavirus pandemic, had driven its subscriptions up to a new high
The lay-offs came just before the launch of a four-week virtual festival being held with brand ambassador Oprah Winfrey, pictured right with WW CEO Mindy Grossman, left
The lay-offs came just before the launch of a four-week virtual festival being held with brand ambassador Oprah Winfrey, pictured right with WW CEO Mindy Grossman, left
Despite the request to stay silent, other former employees have also been speaking out, telling the Huffington Post about the support they were offering essential workers who were continuing the program while going out to work on the frontlines of the pandemic.
Erica Stein, 50, said that she would speak to a doctor who tended to COVID-19 patients.
'At the end of the day, she reached for a pint of ice cream and potato chips,' Stein said, explaining that the doctor would give herself a hard time for doing so.
'I said, "Oh my gosh, you're not a failure. Don't be so hard on yourself. Show yourself some kindness."'
'They fired us in the least empathetic way possible,' Nicolle Norman, 53, told the Huffington Post.
'I've been doing this for 18 years. I don't know where I can combine something that helps people like this with a flexible schedule that I have.'
Weight Watchers has not confirmed the number of employees fired or how many positions were eliminated.

The company made the announcement late last Friday and said it expects to spend about $12 million in employee-termination payments and other expenses.
The company had been forced to close its 3,000 physical locations across the United States in mid-March and had transitioned to holding weekly workshops over video-conferencing platform Zoom.
In an earnings call at the end of its first quarter on April 28, the company discussed how studio spaces would be used in the future as they look to make a larger transition into digital.
Amid the current crisis, it has taken the 30,000 weekly workshops held in studios and put them online.
The growth of its virtual workshops also meant the company was able to accelerate its digital transformation, according to the earnings report.
'While face-to-face experiences will always be a core part of WW, we are strategically repositioning our Studio business to have a smaller real estate footprint with fewer locations,' CEO Mindy Grossman said on the call, according to USA Today.
The company had reported a better-than-expected first quarter loss and despite the coronavirus pandemic, had driven its subscriptions up to a new high.
Its subscribers were up 9 percent year-on-year to five million which was an all-time end of quarter one high.
The lay-offs came just before the launch of a four-week virtual festival being held with brand ambassador Oprah Winfrey.
It is not the only company to have recently laid of its employees via Zoom.
Uber fired some 3,700 on the platform earlier this month and Scooter company Bird also laid of 400 employees in the same way.
Weight Watchers 'fires 4,000 employees on a five-minute Zoom call' despite announcing plan to begin reopening studios after coronavirus lockdown Weight Watchers 'fires 4,000 employees on a five-minute Zoom call' despite announcing plan to begin reopening studios after coronavirus lockdown Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 01:20 Rating: 5

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