Pollen, the U.K.-headquartered travel and events marketplace, describes its company culture as developed on principles of “freedom “and openness, including a well-publicised pay transparency policy. That does not appear to always be the case with regards to the treatment of just recently departing employees. When the word-of-mouth marketing company laid off 69 personnel from its numerous U.S. and Canada entities last month, axed personnel were asked to sign a severance agreement that consisted of a provision restricting them from disclosing the content of the agreement, consisting of to current and former workers. In addition, numerous sources tell TechCrunch the severance contracts feature a broader non-disparagement clause. Such stipulations are usually utilized to forbid current or former staff members from talking about a business or its staff and leadership in a manner that is harmful to business or people related to the business.”It was generally an NDA masked as a severance contract, “stated one previous Pollen staff member, who asked not to be determined.

“They dangled our last pay check in front of us so that we felt pressure to distribute our rights, and they combined that with an abrupt cut off from the business. I was told I was laid off and after that without delay eliminated from all correspondence within a 24 hour duration “. Pollen co-founder and CEO Callum Negus-Fancey does not challenge the existence of either stipulation, however says both are a”standard addition “in severance agreements and

were drafted by external employment legal representatives.”However, we’re going to go over internally if it’s necessary to continue to consist of these sort of stipulations provided the company’s focus on transparency,”he included.”We make every effort to embrace best practices throughout Pollen”. However, according to HR specialists TechCrunch has actually spoken to, consisting of one HR professional with years of experience working for large tech companies in the U.S., such privacy and non-disparagement stipulations aren’t usually utilized in more general redundancy circumstances. Rather, they are more typically used where a severance contract is concurred after a dispute in between a leaving employee and the business, or when a business is concerned there might be adverse promotion.”For a company that aims itself on openness, there is actually a deep undertone of political rhetoric about what ought to or need to not be discussed,”a former Pollen staff member informs TechCrunch. On the other hand, Pollen, or rather JusCollege, among its lots of brands and entities, did draw in negative media headings earlier this year as it came to grips with the emerging coronavirus situation. Moms and dads of students who canceled a spring break to Mexico in mid-March informed NBC News that they weren’t offered refunds despite issues over the virus and had been assured that the trip was safe. On the 12th March, 2 days prior to departure, the World Health Organisation (WHO )declared a pandemic. Consequently, according to the University of Texas, lots of trainees that went on the journey tested favorable for COVID-19 when they went back to the U.S. In action, a JusCollege spokesperson told the Independent newspaper:”We take the security of our consumers very seriously and are dealing with public health authorities to assist where we can. JusCollege constantly follows U.S. government guidelines and assistance from the state department when making travel recommendations, and Mexico was not under a federal travel advisory at the time the journey left … Our thoughts are with the trainees who are ill and the healthcare providers and public health officials who are working to reduce the impact of COVID-19.”In a call, and followed up over email, Negus-Fancey stated that Pollen wasn’t in a position to cancel the spring break

trip and offer full refunds at the time due to the fact that the U.S. federal government was yet to advise travel restrictions to Mexico. He also explained that the business serves as a”manager and distributor “linking customers with providers, such as airlines, hotels and nightclubs, who set their own refund policies.” The cash doesn’t sit with us, it sits with our partners. We take a commission in the middle,”he stated. Adds the Pollen CEO: “All customers who didn’t wish to travel were refunded at a minimum whatever was gotten back from

clients( hotels, airline companies or other suppliers)or they were given a 100 %credit to a future journey. The team worked tirelessly over weeks to achieve this result for clients as it was at the discretion of customers provided there were no travel cautions in location at the time about flying to Mexico. We were materially out of pocket as an outcome of this effort due to the fact that despite the circumstances, we took a long term view to do right by customers and as a result paid out in numerous scenarios where customers had not refunded us”. Individually, following layoffs in The United States and Canada and 34 furloughs in the U.K., TechCrunch has found out that Pollen has put another 56 members of staff on furlough, as the

travel and occasions sector continues to be struck hard by the coronavirus crisis. They consist of 45 in the U.S., 7 in the U.K., and 4 in Canada. Verifying the latest round of furloughs, Negus-Fancey says staff members are being supported by each nation’s various federal government furlough schemes and that Pollen U.S. furloughed staff members were given “over a weeks notice on complete pay and we are covering their medical insurance coverage whilst they are on furlough leave “. Established in 2014 and formerly called Vigor, Pollen runs in the influencer or”word-of-mouth”marketing space. The marketplace lets friends or”members”discover and book travel, events and other experiences– and in turn assists promoters use word-of-mouth recommendations to sell tickets. Pollen’s backers include Northzone, Sienna Capital, Draper Esprit, Backed and Kindred. Article curated by RJ Shara from Source. RJ Shara is a Bay Area Radio Host (Radio Jockey) who talks about the startup ecosystem – entrepreneurs, investments, policies and more on her show The Silicon Dreams. The show streams on Radio Zindagi 1170AM on Mondays from 3.30 PM to 4 PM.