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Layoffs by Email Show What Employers Really Think of Their Workers

The New York Times: “…As someone who’s managed people in newsrooms and digital start-ups and has hired and fired people in various capacities for the last 21 years, I think this approach is not just cruel but unnecessary. It’s reasonable to terminate access to company systems, but delivering the news with no personal human contact serves only one purpose: letting managers off the hook. It ensures they will not have to face the shock and devastation that people feel when they lose their livelihoods. It also ensures the managers won’t have to weather any direct criticism about the poor leadership that brought everyone to that point. Legally, companies have plenty of recourse if laid-off employees steal trade secrets or sabotage systems, and employees who need to find new jobs have little incentive to behave criminally, no matter how upset they may be. But even so, concerns about liability shouldn’t preclude treating employees like human beings. Some defenders of the practice argue that there’s simply no way to coordinate these things at such large scales, but that, too, rings hollow. There is no rule that all layoffs have to happen simultaneously. If managers interact directly with their workers in everyday business, there’s no reason to believe that would suddenly be impossible when it’s time to lay them off…”

See also WSJ – When the Layoff Is an Email, It’s Nothing Personal. “A lot of workers losing jobs right now are getting the bad news via their inboxes. Employers value the speed. Many employees feel differently.”

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