The year of the Great Resignation and the advent of quiet quitting has also offered a fantastic primer on how not to fire people. Silicon Valley disruptors Vishal Garg and Elon Musk have rewritten the book on letting people go, and it could use a little work, to say the least. And in spite of the fact that the latter has devised an amazing array of new, bad and possibly illegal ways to part ways with employees, there’s always room for innovation, like making your entire workforce wake up early one last time for a job they no longer have.
A big US furniture company this week fired all of its 2,700 employees while they were sleeping, telling them in texts and emails not to come to work the next day, according to reports…. “At the instruction of the board of directors … we regret to inform you that due to unforeseen business circumstances, the company has been forced to make the difficult decision to terminate the employment of all its employees, effective immediately, on Nov. 21,” the company said in messages to employees.
Why, you’re no doubt thinking, that’s just three days before Thanksgiving! That’s even more cruel than Better’s Garg canning 900 of his lesser weeks before Christmas last year—at least he got on a Zoom call with them and was performatively upset about it. And also the kind of hasty-looking thing that perhaps the lawyers haven’t gotten around to fully vetting.
Companies, particularly those that enjoyed strong revenue growth during the Covid-19 pandemic and increased the size of their workforces, are starting to tighten their belts as they face high inflation and rising interest rates. They are increasingly looking to layoffs as a way to preserve capital, alongside other measures, such as hiring freezes…. Under pressure to move quickly, however, some companies run the risk of giving improper notice to employees, said David Santacroce, a law professor at the University of Michigan Law School. The federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, or WARN Act, requires companies with 100 or more employees to give minimum 60 days’ notice before layoffs occur if they affect at least 500 full-time employees at a single location, or at least a third of workers at one site when there are fewer staff cuts.
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