Away warns employees not to interact with criticism of the company’s workplace culture after the CEO’s public apology

Away cofounders Steph Korey, left, and Jen Rubio.

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Away cofounders Steph Korey, left, and Jen Rubio.
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Dia Dipasupil / Getty Images
  • Steph Korey, the CEO of luggage startup Away, has issued an apology after The Verge’s Zoe Schiffer reported on a toxic work culture at the company.
  • According to The Verge, bosses reportedly berated employees publicly over Slack, and demanded long hours with little paid time off or overtime pay.
  • Korey was included in many of the leaked Slack conversations published by The Verge, and said in a statement that she was “appalled” to read messages she’d sent in the past.
  • On Friday, The Verge reported that managers at Away were instructing employees not to interact online with any of the coverage of the company’s culture.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Travel startup Away just became the most recent workplace horror story after Zoe Schiffer at The Verge published an account of the company’s “cuttroat culture” where employees were regularly “brutally criticized” on public Slack channels.

In the wake of the story, CEO Steph Korey has issued an apology.

“I can imagine how people felt reading those messages from the past, because I was appalled to read them myself,” Korey said in a statement to Business Insider. “I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple.”

Many of Korey’s Slack conversations were included in the story. At one point, she reportedly called the manager of a project “brain dead,” and in another conversation, screenshots show Korey sending messages at 3 a.m., informing her team that no paid time off or work from home requests would be approved until they reached specific consumer experience milestones.

Read Korey’s full statement below:

“I can imagine how people felt reading those messages from the past, because I was appalled to read them myself. I am sincerely sorry for what I said and how I said it. It was wrong, plain and simple.

We want Away to be a company that sets the highest standards for how we treat our employees and help them grow. Over the last 12 months we’ve invested in creating a culture that allows our people to thrive, including executive coaching for the senior staff, diversity and inclusion training for everyone at the company, 360 reviews, establishing employee resource groups and adding 100 plus new team members to better divide workloads. I am working to be better every day and I promise to keep at it for the sake of our employees, our customers and our company.”

One week before The Verge published this article, Away’s vice president of people and culture, Erin Grau, told Business Insider that Away cared about its employees and their career development. Away has since disputed some of the investigation’s findings.

On Friday, The Verge reported on a leaked memo from Away managers telling employees: “Please do not share the article. Please do not fave/like/comment or interact with any commentary (negative or positive) through either your personal or professional accounts.”

To read the full report on Away’s culture, head over to The Verge.