Laid-off worker wonders why Amazon insists on doing it via Zoom

@nicolejames356/TikTok Skorzewiak/ShutterStock dotshock/ShutterStock (Licensed)

‘I prefer to be demeaned in the way that I choose to’: Laid-off worker wonders why Amazon insists on doing it via Zoom

'Preferred visual for comm cues but not required'


Stacy Fernandez


Posted on Jan 28, 2024   Updated on Jan 28, 2024, 3:43 pm CST

Layoffs continue to be extremely brutal, with hundreds of tech and media employees being let go in the first few weeks of 2024.

Some of those people at Amazon already saw the impending layoff coming, and one person chose to make the call as painless as possible for themselves by calling into the meeting instead of doing a video call.

In a viral TikTok, one person shared that Amazon didn’t even let her partner take the call on the phone like he wanted to. In the video, Nicole James (@nicolejames356) explained that her boyfriend had just been laid off (bringing the number of laid-off adults in their house from one to two) from Amazon.

He’d gotten a meeting invite at midnight, and by the time he saw it the next day had already heard what was going on with his coworkers. After seeing the rumors, he knew what was coming. He was getting laid off. Likely feeling upset, he decided to take the call on the phone to make the process easier on himself, but his manager prompted him to get on the video call with his camera on instead.

While it’s clear that those performing the layoffs need to be on camera for the sake of professionalism and respect, it’s understandable that the employee about to lose their job wouldn’t want to be on camera during such a difficult and potentially emotional moment. Apparently, her boyfriend was not allowed to do so.

“Is he not allowed to just take the phone call from the fucking shitter if he wants?” James asked. “…Since we work from home part-time, are we not allowed to be humiliated just on the floor of our closet?”

James speculated that it may be a safety protocol so the employer can see if the person they just fired tries to harm themselves.

“I don’t get the laying off eye to eye over the camera. Can you explain?” James said, posing the question specifically to any HR professionals in her audience.

@nicolejames356 Like actually what is the answer #techlayoffs #techlayoffs2023 #hr ♬ original sound – Nicole James

The video has amassed more than 376,000 views since Jan. 12. Commenters certainly delivered, offering their perspectives as HR professionals and as people who’ve been laid off.

“I’m in HR, and there is no requirement for the term to happen via video. Preferred visual for comm cues but not required,” a viewer explained.

“The answer is so they have a record that it is indeed the target person. This makes it more difficult for people to claim they weren’t contacted etc,” a person said.

“They last layoff I got was a mass email at 9am and I never even talked to a human,” another wrote.

Is eye to eye contact mandatory when laying off employees? It not appear there are any rules or laws stating that layoffs have to happen in any set fashion. Federal law does mandate that larger companies give employees at least 60 days notice of mass layoffs.

Less than 28 days into the new year, more than 24,00 people were laid off across 93 tech companies, Layoffs.Fyi reported. And it’s not like the tech giants are hurting for money—Alphabet, Meta, and Microsoft recently reached record highs in the stock market, CNBC reported. Despite this, places like Amazon and Microsoft recently laid people off in their gaming and streaming divisions, respectively, to instead double down on investments in AI, Axios reported.

The Daily Dot reached out to James for comment via Instagram direct message.

Share this article
*First Published: Jan 28, 2024, 6:00 pm CST