The Network Hub

Oct 11 2010   12:28PM GMT

Tech companies dream up new and horrible ways to lay off workers

Shamus McGillicuddy Shamus McGillicuddy Profile: Shamus McGillicuddy

Why are some tech companies so bad at firing people?

Mark Fraunfelder at BoingBoing highlighted a Telegraph report about how Everything Everywhere, the mobile carrier created by the merger of Orange and T-Mobile, took artless and heartless firing to a new low. Employees were  herded into rooms by the dozen or by the hundred and shown a “traffic light system” that told them of their job status. If employees saw a red light, they were fired. If they saw a yellow light, they had to re-apply for their jobs. If they saw a blue light their jobs were fine. If they saw a green light, they were getting one of a small number of newly created jobs.

Rather than sit through further humiliation as management offered soothing information about severance, etc., many of those who saw a red light reportedly stood up and walked out.

Can it get any worse than this? How about fortune cookies baked with the good news inside: “Unemployment checks are in your future!” Perhaps a creative executive could modify one of those “Easy” buttons from Staples, replacing the recording of the guy saying “That was easy” with a sample of Donald Trump blurting out “You’re fired.”

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