James Clarke, the Chief Executive Officer of Utah-based company Clearlink, is being criticised on social media for praising an employee who had to sell his family’s dog in order to return to the company’s office, as per a report in Independent.
In a video that is doing rounds online, he said that he had enough of employees whining about the new return-to-office rule. On April 3, he sent an email to the company’s staff requesting them to work from the office four days a week beginning on April 17 if they live within 50 miles of the company’s new headquarters in Draper. According to VICE, many employees were taken aback by his decision, given that the CEO had recently stated via email that he had “no plans” to do so. Moreover, some employees had been hired with the understanding that the company was “remote-first”.
Clear link CEO is forcing everyone back to office when he should be forcing himself into therapy pic.twitter.com/BhcCmrNaOR
— Alex Cohen (@anothercohen) April 20, 2023
However, Mr Clarke said that the staff couldn’t “outwork” him during the meeting where he explained the rationale for the new mandate and accused them of “quiet quitting”. The CEO added he discovered that 30 employees had not opened their laptops in a month. He continued by criticising content writers, alleging that they used artificial intelligence to complete their tasks. “I can do that in about 30 minutes of an eight-hour workday,” he said, urging them to “put out 30 to 50 times our normal production,” Mr Clarke said in the video.
He then highlighted how one of the staff members “made sacrifices” by selling their family dog in order to return to work. “I’ve sacrificed, and those of you that are here have sacrificed greatly to be here as well – to be away from your family. I learned from one of our leaders that, in the midst of hearing this message, (someone) went out and sold their family dog,” he said in the video.
He added that as “someone who’s been at the forefront of the humanization of pets movement in other businesses that we’ve built,” the news had “broken his heart”. It is to be noted Mr Clarke served as the Chairman of PetIQ for a decade, a business that distributes pet supplies and veterinary services.
Further, the CEO questioned if mothers could successfully balance employment and parenting their children.
Many internet users pointed out the company’s toxic work culture. A user said on Twitter, “To the employee who sold the dog, James Clarke, the CEO of the technology and media company Clearlink, would fire you in a heartbeat.”
“James Clarke is an idiot. The problem isn’t remote working, it’s poor leadership. Look in the mirror douchebag,” stated a user.
As per VICE, the company’s spokesperson said that the whole episode was a matter of “internal Clearlink business” and that the return-to-office mandate would help the company achieve its “collective goals.”