The CEO of Kyte Baby, a children’s sleepwear company, was forced to apologize after firing an employee over her request to work remotely so she could tend to her newly adopted premature baby in a hospital.
The employee, Marissa Hughes, had asked to work from a neonatal unit so that she could be close to her baby, who was fighting for his life after he was born prematurely at 22 weeks.
But her request was denied, and she lost her job after refusing to leave her baby’s side. The company was met with swift backlash over the move, and CEO Ying Liu issued two video apologies after some customers threatened a boycott.
“We treat biological and non-biological parents equally,” Liu said in her first video shared on social media. “Through my personal and professional experiences, I have the utmost respect for babies, families, and the adoption community.”
She admitted in her second video that she had made the decision to reject Hughes’ request. “Sincerely, what went wrong is how we treated Marissa and I’m the one who made the decision to veto her request to go remote as she stays in the NICU to take care of her adopted baby. When I think back, that was a terrible decision,” she said.
Liu was quoted telling USA Today that the company is “working diligently” to implement policy changes after the “insensitive and selfish” decision not to allow Hughes to work remotely. She said Hughes had been invited to return to the company but had turned down the offer.