406 employees dismissed in a few minutes and remotely: this was the expeditious result of a videoconference to which the American employees of the start-up Bird, which offers scooters for hire, were invited on March 27. a particular method for ” say goodbye to some of our family members According to the formula of its CEO Travis VanderZanden.
Silence and a wallpaper with “Covid-19”
As the American newspaper reports dowry. THE, the employees of the start-up, accustomed to remote meetings, connected themselves in the hope of obtaining details on the line of conduct of the company, which had hitherto remained little talkative about the health crisis. But something seemed to be wrong: while the meetings always start on time, only the silence greeted the participants, and a gray screen with the only text “Covid-19”.
→ LIVE. Coronavirus: digital, municipal certificate, unemployment… The latest news
After five minutes, a female voice read the following message: ” It is a suboptimal way to communicate such a message. (…) The Covid-19 had a massive impact on our business, forcing the management team to make extremely difficult and painful decisions. One of those decisions is to cut a number of functions from the company. Unfortunately, your function is affected by this decision ”. The reader’s voice trembles during the rest of the recording, as if it were restraining sobs.
Employees in shock
Some employees still in shock told dot.LA that they thought the message was pre-recorded, reinforcing the dehumanized side of the ad. Travis VanderZanden formally denied it, while acknowledging that it would have been better to call each of the dismissed employees and then invited managers to contact them.
In addition, while the end of their employment contract had been announced for April 3, some employees were disconnected during the very announcement of their dismissal, their screen suddenly turning black before their machine restarted. They were unable to reconnect afterwards: a month earlier, a member of the IT department had been asked to prepare a script to immediately suspend access.
Employees were required to return their equipment by April 15, with no details on the possibility of recovering personal belongings they could have left at their offices before confinement.
6.6 million unemployed Americans
Bird, created in 2017, has grown exponentially, The reputation of ” the terrible child of the electric scooter – name given to Travis VanderZanden by The echoes in July 2019 – in any case risks to suffer, the case not having gone unnoticed.
→ EXPLANATION. Coronavirus Raises Unemployment in the United States
In a country where the employment contract can be concluded orally and where the dismissal can be done without reason or prior procedure, unemployment is a sword of Damocles for the employees, even more in this period of crisis. On Thursday, April 2, the latest numbers came down: 6.6 million Americans claimed unemployment benefits, up from 3.3 million the previous week.