KEY POINTS

  • The Clearwater-based company's CEO angered staff by downplaying Hurricane Ian
  • Joy Gendusa has admitted that her communication to staff was "inappropriate"
  • Twitter users trolled her and the company for expecting to work through the calamity

An employer in Florida has turned into a public enemy after she asked her staff to work from the office during Hurricane Ian.

Joy Gendusa suggested her employees bring their kids and pets to work, promising to make surviving the hurricane "super fun for the kids!" reported Vice News.

The PostcardMania CEO's plan to continue operations wasn't properly thought out. Word got out, swiftly, with every major and small news outlet across the country reporting on it.

Gendusa addressed the media frenzy surrounding her company's handling of the hurricane in a YouTube video posted to PostcardMania's channel. Gendusa denied asking staff to work during the hurricane and said she did it before they knew its path.

The CEO said that the situation wouldn't have blown up if the offended employees had trusted in the company's open door policy and spoken to their manager, or taken up the matter directly with her.

However, she also admitted that "my communication to my staff was inappropriate and I take into consideration how they felt," adding she learned a lesson from this episode.

Gendusa's video came on the heels of massive online outrage against her and the Clearwater-based company for wanting to keep their staff working even though Florida was predicted to face "life-threatening" flooding. Here's what went down.

Days before Hurricane Ian made landfall near Florida, employees of marketing firm PostcardMania assembled in the conference room to chat with Gendusa who participated in the meeting through a video call.

Sitting in the passenger seat of her car, Gendusa told her employees that Ian, then a Category 1 storm that was expected to grow, was a "nothing burger," The Washington Post reported.

"It's not going to be that bad," she said in response to the employees who raised their hands when asked if they were afraid of the incoming storm, as seen in a video obtained by the outlet.

"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 said. "And when it turns into nothing I don't want it to be like, 'Great, we all stopped producing because of the media [thought] maybe that it was going to be terrible.'"

Gendusa's comments left several of her employees feeling exploited. "There is no company worth sacrificing for," one worker told the outlet, on the condition of anonymity. "I wouldn't give my life [or my belongings] for any company."

Several employees sounded off about the meeting on their private social media pages while others reportedly discussed their concerns within the office. It wasn't until Tuesday that the company backtracked on its decision to remain open, and employees were told that the office will be shut Wednesday and Thursday.

"To our valued clients: Our office will be closed Wednesday and Thursday due to Hurricane Ian. Our building will be transitioned into a hurricane shelter tonight for staff, family, friends, children, and pets," a statement read on the business's Facebook page.

"Our remote staff will still be handling customer communication as much as possible during this time. Thank you for your understanding."

This two-day closure, however, came with a condition that employees still clock in 40 hours of work for the week. In case they couldn't work due to power outages, the company expected employees to make up for it before the week ended.

On being probed about the 40-hour work week condition, the company's spokeswoman Jessica Lalau told The Post in an email that they've offered two days of paid time off for those working remotely or volunteering at a shelter.

The online hatred toward Gendusa has continued despite the company's efforts at mitigating the media crisis. "Look at this horrible boss! Florida CEO of @postcardmania called Hurricane Ian a 'nothingburger' hyped by the media -- and told employees to work through it. Such a disgrace and disregard for the employees!" a tweet read.

"Could there be a more toxic boss and toxic work environment than the company this person runs ... probably not ... how disgusting a human. She should work for Putin... I hear there's nice places to stay during bombs raining down on cities @postcardmania" tweeted another.

"Look let's stop saying evil she wanted them to bring their kids. That is an evil person not just boss. I mean she was ordering them to bring their kids to danger for her profit. She may just be Satan," an irate user tweeted.

Hurricane Ian destruction in southwestern Florida