worker speaking with caption 'I've been assigned way too much work' (l) worker with caption 'Quiet Firing (how companies fire now)' (c) worker speaking with caption 'but our next step is to put you on something called a performance plan' (r)

@americanbaron/TikTok Remix by Caterina Cox

‘You never hear it coming’: Man describes ‘quiet firing’

"They’re trying to make like getting fired was your idea."


Tricia Crimmins


Posted on Oct 19, 2023   Updated on Nov 8, 2023, 1:15 pm CST

By now, we’ve all heard of quiet quitting: doing the bare minimum at work to ensure that work doesn’t become your life. But what about quiet firing?

In a TikTok posted on September 21, writer and short-film maker Baron Ryan acts out quiet firing, or “when your managers need to fire you but can’t because you might sue, so they set you up for failure to justify firing you.”

“Usually, you never hear it coming,” he wrote in his video’s caption.

Ryan’s video shows a worker being asked to write down a list of his responsibilities, randomly reassigned to a new team, being overloaded with work, and then placed on a performance improvement plan. When he explains that he can’t keep up with his increased workload, higher ups suggest that with workload may be “outside” his bandwidth and that his job is “not the right fit” for him anymore.

On Thursday, Ryan’s video had over 3 million views.

@americanbaron POV you’re about to get fired. Quiet firing: When your managers need to fire you but can’t because you might sue, so they set you up for failure to justify firing you. Usually, you never hear it coming. #corporatelife #job #quietfiring #quietquitting #corporateamerica #shortfilm ♬ Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind – From "Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind" – London Music Works

Depending on where you live in the U.S.—or across the globe—employers can fire you “at will,” meaning employees can be fired for any reason at any time—with the exception of prohibited reasons, like one’s race, gender, national origin, religion, age, or disability. “At will” employment is legal in all U.S. states except Montana.

In Canada, however, if an employer “changes the terms and conditions of employment,” it is considered a constructive dismissal and could be unjust. Employees who think they are experiencing a constructive dismissal can file a complaint against their employer.

But, for Ryan, it’s more than the legalities. In a comment on his video, he agreed with a viewer that quiet firing is “like a toxic relationship.”

“They’re trying to make like getting fired was your idea,” Ryan commented.

Many commenters on Ryan’s video said “quiet firing” resonated with them.

“I was in the same situation with you. Honestly, I had no idea it was quiet firing,” one commenter said. “But it make [sense] now…”

“Even ‘I hear you’ doesn’t mean anything anymore,” another wrote.

“As soon as the ‘reassign; part happens I have five resumes out there,” another said. “These companies have no loyalty to you, don’t give it to them.”

The Daily Dot reached out to Ryan via Instagram direct message.

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*First Published: Oct 19, 2023, 12:09 pm CDT