First apology by CEO draws flak for being insincere
A baby clothing company had to issue two apologies on social media after it drew flak for firing an employee who requested remote work when her baby was admitted into a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Texas-based Kyte Baby's CEO, Ying Liu, had to post a second apology video on TikTok after users criticised the sincerity of the first video.
The first one had Liu expressing her sincere apology to employee Marissa Hughes for how her parental leave was communicated and handled.
"I have been trying to reach out to her to apologize directly as well," she said, stressing that her "respect and good intentions" were not fully communicated to Hughes.
"It was my oversight that she didn't feel supported as we always have intended," Liu said in the first video.
According to the CEO, they would find her a position whenever she decides to return to the company, adding that they will also be reviewing their HR policy and procedures to avoid similar incidents in the future.
"I want to apologize to our Kyte community. I want to assure you that as the company's owner, I will always stand behind our values," Liu said.
But the apology was met by criticism on TikTok as users pointed out the lack of sincerity in the video.
"I love the sincerity of an apology that's being read from a piece of paper," one user in the comment section said.
"You can tell she's reading off of a prompt lol so genuine," another user said.
Second apology from CEO
The backlash has prompted Liu to post another video on TikTok, where she went off-script and admitted that the initial statement was scripted.
"I memorized it. I just basically just read it. It wasn't sincere," she said in the second video.
Liu admitted in the video that it was her decision to veto Hughes' request for remote work while she had to stay in NICU.
"And when I think back, this was a terrible decision. I was insensitive, selfish, and was only focused on the fact that her job had always been done on site and I did not see the possibility of doing it remotely," she said.
The CEO said they could have chosen to accommodate Hughes but chose not to.
"So, thinking back, it really was a terrible mistake. I own 100% of that," she said.
"At the end of the day, as human beings, as a mom, as a female owner of the business, and especially a baby business, I feel like I need to set the record straight that I fully realized the impact of my action, my decision, my short sightedness that I did not accommodate Marissa fully and did not even reach out to her personally, didn't even talk to her at all about what happened to her until today."
According to Liu, they will continue paying Hughes the benefits as if she was working remotely for them, adding that her original position will always be open for her when she comes back.
"I just really want to apologize to her again that for the feelings and the hurt and the damages that I have done," the CEO said.
No turning back for employee
But Hughes said on a Facebook post that she won't be returning to the company, CNN reported.
"We're really encouraged to hear that there will be some changes made for current and future employees of the company," the former Kyte Baby employee said as quoted by the news outlet.
Hughes has since launched a GoFundMe page to help cover the expenses related to their adopted child, who she said was born at 22 weeks' gestation and "barely over a pound."
"We still have pending adoption costs, his medical bills, and so many other things. NICU stays are expensive, and he will likely be discharged around end of March, closer to his original due date," Hughes said on the GoFundMe page.
The couple has since exceeded their $50,000 goal after receiving over $91,000 donations from users as of writing.