A former NetEase game designer published an article via his WeChat Public Account on Saturday that went quickly viral in which he claims that the company kicked him out of the office without providing valid reasons after being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease affecting the heart’s ability to pump blood.
The ex-employee joined NetEase in 2014 after graduating from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. Earlier in January 2019, he was diagnosed with DCM, and later in March, he was told to leave the company when he got a “D” (the lowest rating) in performance evaluation, though he claimed that his output was the second-highest of the team at the time.
The former employee wrote that he was “kicked out” of the company by human resource personnel and security guards in September, after several rounds of failed negotiations in which he also experienced threats.
The piece has received more than 100,000 views, while other netizens claiming to have worked for NetEase also wrote comments criticizing the company, steering NetEase towards controversy.
On Monday, the Hangzhou-based tech company apologized for the “rough” and “insensitive” behavior during this affair in a statement, also stating that the employee’s performance was unqualified despite his heavy workload.
The unsettling issue has been taken into court. A labor dispute arbitration commission in Hangzhou will hear the case on December 11. The employee demanded compensation of around RMB 620,000 (USD 88,000).
NetEase, China’s second-largest game publisher, has been laying off a large number of employees from its gaming, education, email, and e-commerce departments since February, local business news outlet Caijing reported.
Last month, NetEase’s education spinoff Youdao went public on the New York Stock Exchange, with its shares tumbling after debut.
In addition, the company also has an IPO plan for its music streaming service NetEase Cloud Music, which raised USD 700 million from Alibaba and Jack Ma-backed Yunfeng Capital in its Series B2 round, KrASIA reported. Alibaba is the buyer of NetEase’s cross-border e-commerce platform Kaola.