Other workers who spoke up or shared the story have also been let go
Last month, several Samsung sales reps contracted through staffing agency Ibbu spoke out about unpaid work. Despite 100 percent of their pay based on commission, these workers were tasked with answering customer support questions that didn’t result in income. Nearly a month later, these contractors are starting to feel the heat from Ibbu, with the main whistleblower — Jennifer Larson — having been suspended and fired from her job.
Larson was the only sales rep to attach her name to The Verge’s initial story, though she wasn’t the only source to speak with reporters. According to follow-up coverage from The Verge, Larson was suspended from Ibbu a day after the original story went live. Despite being told her suspension was temporary — and that she would receive an update from the company on her status within a week — Larson was finally let go four weeks later.
According to the email sent to Larson, she was fired for “disclosing confidential information about the Ibbu platform on social media, and encouraging visitors, directly into the chat, to look at third party links or content,” in addition to using the platform for personal communication. For her part, Larson told reporters she wasn’t surprised about action being taken against her, and that she didn’t regret speaking up against Ibbu and Samsung.
Other contractors, even without public identities, faced retribution in the face of last month’s reporting as well. Two of Ibbu’s “experts” The Verge they were let go from working with Samsung Mobile, while a third — who was not one of the original sources in the story — was fired after having shared the story to their LinkedIn profile. Ibbu claims these employees had poor sales performance, resulting in their dismissal.
We’ve reached out to Samsung for comment on these employees being fired, and we’ll update with any statements provided.
Ibbu does seem to be aware that customer service chats — which resulted in a lack of commission — were wreaking havoc among its workforce. The company is reportedly trying to reduce the off-topic support tickets being issued to its sales reps, which it currently estimates is about 2.81% of all communication. As small as that may sound, it’s still resulting in unpaid work, which — contractor or not — should be unacceptable for any platform, especially when working with a company as large as Samsung.
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