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Florida boss called Hurricane Ian a "nothing burger" — urged staff to keep working: reports

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Biden says Hurricane Ian "could be the deadliest hurricane in Florida's history" 21:06

A Clearwater, Florida, CEO is in hot water after trying to rally her employees to stay on the job during Hurricane Ian, which she downplayed as likely to be a "nothing burger," according to the Washington Post.

"It's not going to be that bad," Joy Gendusa, CEO of PostcardMania, told workers on Monday who were gathered in a conference room to watch her address them remotely from the passenger seat of a car. "Obviously, you feeling safe and comfortable is of the utmost importance, but I honestly want to continue to deliver and I want to have a good end of quarter," Gendusa said in the video, the Post reported.

Gendusa also relayed she'd lived in the area for more than 30 years and in her view the media always overhyped the severity of coming storms, according to the newspaper. 

By the time she spoke, Florida's governor had warned of "significant risk of life-threatening storm surge, hurricane-force winds and heavy rainfall" by midweek.

PostcardMania did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Hours after first being reported on Twitter by labor writer Jonah Furman, Gendusa faced an onslaught of critical comments on social media, and her company on Tuesday announced its offices would be closed on Wednesday and Thursday. 

But management then told workers they would still have to put in a full 40-hour workweek, including making up any lost time due to power outages. After that elicited further outrage online, the company said it would give its workers paid time off, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Gendusa on Wednesday apologized to workers who "felt that it came across as insensitive," according to an internal email provided by Jessica Lalau, PostcardMania director of marketing and communications, the Tampa Bay Times reported. 

Gendusa founded the marketing agency in 1998 and employs more than 320 people in the Tampa Bay area. The company produces millions of postcards each week, and delivers online advertising through Google and Facebook, according to its site.

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