Florida CEO Faces Backlash After Asking Employees to Work Through Hurricane Ian, and to Bring Pets, Family to the Office
The PostcardMania CEO said she didn't want to stop production for a "nothing-burger" of a hurricane.
A Florida-based company is under fire after its CEO suggested employees bring their families and pets to the office and work through Hurricane Ian, despite a declared state of emergency and numerous evacuation orders throughout the area.
Joy Gendusa, the CEO of PostcardMania, a postcard marketing firm with a 69,000-square-foot main campus in Clearwater, Fla., addressed employees on Monday and set her expectations for the then-upcoming Category 4 storm: come to the office.
"If you want to leave your home and you're being told to leave your home, and you feel like you should and you have no place to go, PCM [Postcardmania] is probably the safest place to be in Florida," Gendusa told employees during a Zoom call, according to a copy of the meeting minutes obtained by VICE News. "Anyway, bring your pets, bring your kids, bring everybody to PCM."
While telling her staff to go into the office, Gendusa tuned into the meeting from the passenger seat of her car and called the storm an over-hyped "nothing-burger," according to The Washington Post.
"It's not going to be that bad," Gendusa said in a video recording of the meeting obtained by The Post. "Obviously, you feeling safe and comfortable is of the utmost importance, but I honestly want to continue to deliver, and I want to have a good end of quarter," Gendusa added. "And when it turns into nothing I don't want it to be like, 'Great, we all stopped producing because of the media and [thought] maybe that it was going to be terrible.'"
Following the meeting, employees received an automated text message encouraging them to bring their loved ones to the office during the peak of the storm on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Wild: Here are the CEO's remarks on an staff call sent out with minutes from the meeting:— Jonah Furman (@JonahFurman) September 27, 2022
"Anyway, bring your pets, bring your kids... Jason can start blowing up those air mattresses... Raise your hand if you're scared of the hurricane. It's really not going to be that scary." https://t.co/EAKHUFcuf5 pic.twitter.com/bnDIKJPO66
Word got out on social media about PostcardMania's response to the hurricane and sparked criticism on Twitter for the apparent division between Gendusa and her employees.
Joy Gendusa doesn't sound like a horrible CEO, she sounds like MOST CEOs in America who put profit before the safety and well-being of people. Exploitation of workers shouldn't be the norm—she should resign. #postcardmania #HurricanIan https://t.co/L5BQGIKNN0— Simona Grace (@simonagrace) September 29, 2022
This woman should not be a boss and anyone that utilizes her products should stop immediately. We are sick of employers continuing to put their employees lives at risk for profit.— Nobody (@ashlandhoffman) September 29, 2022
"She is in her car driving away from us and telling us to keep working," one employee who was in the meeting told WaPo. "It just felt wrong. I'm going to have to work and you're driving in your SUV, taking off."
"There was a huge disconnect between her and her employees," another staffer told the outlet. "Not everybody lives in a nice place or in a safe place like her."
However, employees then received an email on Tuesday afternoon stating PostcardMania offices will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday, but they hope to reopen on Friday, according to Vice. Additionally, they said employees are still expected to work 40 hours for the week.
Aaaaand PostcardMania says they're no longer planning to have workers stay overnight with their families to keep the company open during a huge hurricane. A low bar, but they've cleared it. pic.twitter.com/Foh2zJy1JM— Jonah Furman (@JonahFurman) September 27, 2022
An anonymous employee spoke on behalf of their coworkers, telling Vice that staffers are showing feelings of "concern and frustration." Another worker said that PostcardMania's company culture is a "facade," adding, "they want to give off the look of their company being a fun environment, but at the end of the day work/life balance is nonexistent."
In another email to employees sent on Wednesday, the company retracted their previous statements and said they will be giving workers paid time off, according to WaPo.
The company added that Gendusa's meeting remarks were her "personal opinion" and "not an official PostcardMania position in any way."
Entrepreneur Editors' Picks
Online Scams Are More Sophisticated Than Ever. Here's How to Shop Safely on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, According to a Cyber Intelligence Expert.
This Guy Saved Barbie From Cultural Extinction. He Did It by Asking One Big Question.
The Top 5 Hot Franchise Categories for 2023, According to One Industry Expert
Why Can't We Resist Black Friday and Cyber Monday? A Behavioral Economist Explains the Psychological Forces That Make Sales Irresistible.
I Couldn't Sleep. I Obsessed Over My Failures. Then I Found the Weirdest Cure.
This Pitch Scored a $250,000 Investment — But It Almost Didn't Happen
Employees Were Demanded to Go Home. Here's How We Invite Them to Come Back.