5 Vital Lessons To Learn From The Glory Osei And Muyiwa Folohunso Scandal
A few days ago, the social media space began buzzing with allegations of scam business ventures and poor treatment of former staff as well as maintenance of a toxic work environment against the founders of Divergent Enterprises, Glory Osei and Muyiwa Folohunso.
Osei, in a series of tweets and a separate statement she published on her Medium page, denied running Ponzi schemes as businesses. According to her, the allegations were the handiwork of disgruntled ex-staff trying to bring her down.
“This is a ludicrous statement. Everything we have done from when we started till now is to maximize the resources at our disposal, making sure to not take more than what we need to achieve what needs to be done.”
In the wake of the allegations that have since trailed Divergent Enterprises, we have listed five key lessons to take away from the scandal.
The need to run a background check and research about a prospective employer cannot be overemphasised. Dealing with unsavoury individuals or businesses can be avoided by running a simple check on the internet. Interestingly, there are posts on Nairaland where many individuals have recounted their unpleasant experiences with some of the ventures under Divergent Enterprises. A Nairaland user with the moniker Boss13, for instance, listed TrueRebel Fashion company under Divergent as being involved with the selling of fake jewellery.
When the scandal that hit Divergent Enterprises broke out, prominent among the allegations that trailed the organisation is its shoddy treatment of staff and ex-staff. Former staffers took to Twitter to share their ‘mistreatment’ while working with the outfit. From allegations of firing of staff indiscriminately, owing of salary to being made to work round the clock, former staff attested to not being able to thrive due to the toxic work environment.
In reaction to the allegation of the mistreatment of staff, Osei in her unofficial statement wrote in part:
“…let me categorically state, I have never mistreated any staff. We are a passionate business people, and all our efforts was always aimed at growing the people we have. Could we be gentler? Definitely, and if anything this whole fiasco is a teachable moment for my company.”
In line with operating a toxic workplace, some allegations that trail Divergent Enterprises has also exposed the ignorance of many Nigerians as to the labour laws guiding the work environment. The indiscriminate firing of workers without pay and also owing workers salary is against the Nigerian labour law. The general position is that Nigerian employers are entitled to terminate a contract of employment at any time and without stating the reason or cause for doing so, provided that the appropriate notice of termination is given to the employee or the employee is paid a salary in lieu of such notice.
Furthermore, the maximum normal working time allowed is 45 hours weekly. This is 9 hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works a five-day week, and 8 hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works more than 5 days per week.
Osei, however, accused her former staff of not putting in their best when they were working for her. She accused them of “gaming the system”.
” The problem with running a private company in Nigeria is that we can see the people gaming the system and doing the barest minimum and we understand on a very deep level how that affects the productivity of any system. We are now putting every measure in place to make absolutely certain that this is no longer the case.”
For employers, the scandal currently trailing Divergent Enterprises is a wakeup call on the need for a good working relationship with employees. It is noteworthy that many of those who have come forward to lay allegations against Divergent were former employees who have one or two bitter experiences to share about their time there.
The Power of Social Media
Once again, social media has proven itself to be a powerful tool. Without the time hassle and legal complications required to seek redress in court for a perceived injustice, the disgruntled former staff employed social media to have a public court. In hours, thousands of tweets and retweets had been garnered with Divergent Enterprises and its founders finding themselves the subject of public discussion.
How far social media will go in this situation is yet to be seen. But you can only underestimate the impact social media can create at your own peril.