Staff at a design agency made a shocking discovery that they work for a company that does not exist.
Employees of a UK design agency were shocked to discover the company they worked at was fake, according to a documentary.
Jobfishedavailable to stream on Flashshows how more than 50 staff members at Madbird in London found out they were scammed after they received an email saying their previous high-end clients were not real, work was stolen from other companies and team members didn’t exist.
The news left workers devastated. Some had quit full-time jobs for their roles at Madbird, while others found hope during “extreme desperation” after being laid off during the first year of the pandemic in 2020.
They were all hired on a commission-only basis during their six-month trials and were promised the world, with six-figure packages and sponsorship for UK work visas among the carrots dangled in front of them.
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Chris Doocey, 27, joined Madbird in 2020 after he was laid off from his previous job during the pandemic.
The sales manager said he racked up £10,000 ($AU17,500) in debts after not being paid for the fake job.
“To have gone months at Madbird without pay [while] still paying off a mortgage, paying off loans, it leaves you in a deep hole,” he told the program.
Jordan Carter, 26, gave up a full-time job to work on a commission-only basis at Madbird.
“I thought if I just work hard for six months, I’m gonna get this base salary,” he said.
“It was tough. I wanted to apologise to the people I contacted on LinkedIn about something that was not real and for trying to get money out of them.
“I’ve wasted six months where minimum wage would have got me over £8000 ($AU14,000) and I’ve got nothing.”
Chris and Jordan took Madbird to an employment tribunal.
The case ruled in their favour and ordered Madbird to pay them £7000 ($AU12,200) each in unpaid minimum wages for the hours they worked.
The company’s founder Ali Ayad appealed the verdict but lost and has appealed again. Both men have not seen a cent.
Jobfished investigates the glamorous design company that tricked its own staff into believing it was real through an online universe of fake profiles, stolen work and lies at the height of the Covid pandemic.
When tracked down during the documentary, Ayad insisted the company is not fake.
“If I hurt somebody, of course I’m sorry but there’s another version of the story … It was an authentic company that had people working and everything that a company needs,” he said.
The BBC states Ayad failed to respond when chased for his side of the story.
– With The Sun
Originally published as Workers swindled into working for a company that was fake, told in zoom meeting