Bitwise dumped employees with no health coverage. Now, it’s demanding they retain corporate records.

The company’s first message to employees did not address the lapse in health coverage. Instead, employees received a demand to keep records.

Former Bitwise employees have lost their health insurance with the company’s financial collapse a couple weeks ago. 

Yet the company’s first message since Board member Ollen Douglass took the helm after the firing of co-CEOs Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin, Jr. was to demand ousted employees save all documents and records with several civil lawsuits filed against Bitwise and the increasing likelihood of criminal action against the company and its top executives ahead. 


The backstory: Bitwise employees revealed on Twitter that Blue Shield of California informed them that their health care was canceled on June 2, just a few days after the company furloughed its entire workforce of 900 people. 

  • Former Bitwise employees are also not able to take advantage of the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA) – which allows employees who lose their health benefits to choose to continue coverage for a limited period of time – because Bitwise is no longer purchasing healthcare coverage. 
  • Bitwise has not inform its furloughed employees that their healthcare plans were canceled. 

The big picture: Tuesday’s request to save all documents and records came from Interim President Ollen Douglass. Douglass serves on Bitwise’s board, which fired former co-CEO’s Jake Soberal and Irma Olguin after the company’s collapse. 

  • Douglass told the employees in his email that there “can be civil or criminal consequences” if they do not comply and save the documents and records. 
  • Douglass requested that employees save all company related paper documents, electronic files and emails, account information, shared drives, electronic databases, physical storage devices and all communication through social media and text messaging.

What they’re saying: Roger Bonakdar, a Fresno attorney representing Bitwise employees in a class action lawsuit regarding the improper furlough of workers, excoriated the company for its first missive.

  • “If anyone, anywhere, had a shred of doubt that the Board at Bitwise was not comprised of vile, morally bankrupt and pathetic people, this email from President Ollen Douglas puts that question to rest,” Bonakdar said in a statement issued to The Sun.
  • “Two weeks of radio silence and the first thing the board does is make totally bogus threats of suit and jail time. Not a peep about the money Bitwise stole. If the Feds weren’t looking at this before, they better be now. The Bitwise board is the embodiment of evil.”
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