China's internet and game company NetEase apologized for firing an employee even though he had an "incurable disease," admitting that those who dealt with the incident were "simple, brash and impersonal."
Last Saturday, a former Net-Ease employee posted a story on a WeChat account, claiming that he was forced to leave the company after he was diagnosed with serious heart disease in late January with the excuse of "poor performance".
The employee, who didn't give any personal information about himself, said in the story that NetEase informed him of being unqualified for the job in late March because of his "poor work performance" in the past half year, which he disputed.
He said that his request for economic compensation for being laid off and a performance-based bonus for projects he was involved in was also refused by the company.
The former employee also said he experienced surveillance and was menaced in the office when he refused to resign. He was eventually forced to leave the company in September. He said NetEase had promised to pay him compensation before Sept 9. When they did not pay, he applied for labor arbitration on Sept 17 and received compensation totaling 240,000 yuan.
The employee inserted an audio recording in his article as evidence of his bad treatment.
The letter sparked huge reaction on social media, and the hashtag "NetEase" was viewed 610 million. Many netizens criticized the company for its inhumane treatment employees.
NetEase released a statement on Monday. NetEase said it received the request for dismissal from the former employee's supervisor, who said his work performance was "unsatisfactory." The supervisor didn't fully understand the employee's health situation, the statement said.
The company said it had paid the man on time during his three-month sick leave. However, employees from the company's human resources department failed to handle the man's departure from the company in a proper way. “We apologize for the simple and crude, unsympathetic approaches and behavior in the process of his dismissal. Sorry, we were wrong," the statements said.
NetEase said that it will pay the man 12 months basic salary and provide other assistance he might require.