‘I thought it would be clear on this layoff’

Earlier this week, a technical recruiter at Meta (map) thought the layoff would not affect him, he told Yahoo Finance. He performs well on the job, always meeting or exceeding expectations at a company that has prioritized attracting engineering talent for years. She is also in her third trimester of pregnancy.

“Until yesterday, I thought I would be clear on these layoffs,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “

But at 8:45 a.m. ET, he said, he was locked out of his computer, with only access to his work email.

“I’m trying to see the benefits,” the recruiter said. “I typed in our search bar, and it wouldn’t let me in, saying I needed internal access.”

Yahoo Finance spoke to three Meta employees who lost their jobs this week, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity over issues that may affect their future prospects or profits. They all provide documentation of employment in the company.

Two common threads emerged from the three of them. First of all, they all said that management has spent the last few months saying that layoffs are not on the table. Second, they describe the work environment that has changed radically in recent days, especially after The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that layoffs were imminent.

“Meta is my dream company to work for,” said the recruiter. “I really want to believe in them, but looking at the scale of these layoffs and how they’re managing it, I don’t have faith in this company for the future.”

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - OCTOBER 01: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook/Meta, is seen at the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA – OCTOBER 01: Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook/Meta, is seen at the UFC Fight Night event at UFC APEX on October 01, 2022 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jeff Bottari / Zuffa LLC)

Meta is not the first tech company to have mass layoffs in recent days. Twitter began layoffs last week that affected 3,700 employees — about 50% of the company now owned by billionaire Elon Musk — and that sent shockwaves through social media. Still, Meta’s layoffs represent something new for parent Facebook, as it’s the company’s first job cut in its nearly 19-year history. Twitter, meanwhile, has been laid off beforeFor example in 2015, under then-CEO Jack Dorsey.

‘Paranoia and anxiety’

A product marketing manager, who joined the company less than a year ago, said that working in Meta was usually “confusing and convoluted,” but that things have shifted in recent days. Profound nervousness has set in for him and his co-workers, he told Yahoo Finance.

“The last two days have been paranoia and anxiety for everyone who works in the company,” he said Wednesday. “We all thought, well, some people won’t be here by Thursday, so work is stopped – no work in Meta this week at all.”

Layoffs hit recruiting particularly hard, but cuts came in divisions across the company – including in the company’s metaverse operation, Reality Labs, three confirmed.

Before the layoffs, staff were told not to come to the office, and layoff emails came in waves, employees told Yahoo Finance. The first round arrived around 6 a.m. ET, and another wave arrived at 9 a.m. the next day. One Reality Labs employee received the email at 9 a.m., just as he began to breathe a sigh of relief, he said.

“At Reality Labs, we still think this is a top priority, and then two weeks ago there was a sudden stop,” he added. “We are just going off the speculation that ‘we are Reality Labs, we are going to be different.’ Even that morning, when I was talking to people, I thought I was going to be okay.”

Reality Labs has become somewhat infamous, as it has lost billions as the company pivots into the metaverse. In an internal email, CEO Mark Zuckerberg took responsibility for the layoffs, saying he miscalculated the operating climate.

“Not only is online commerce returning to previous trends, but the macroeconomic downturn, increased competition, and the loss of advertising signals are causing our revenue to be lower than I expected,” he told employees via email. “I was wrong, and I take responsibility for it.”

Yahoo Finance employees spoke and were divided on how satisfied they were with the benefits they received, including back pay, 16 weeks of severance pay, and career and immigration support, according to documents obtained by Yahoo Finance. . A pregnant technical recruiter said that Meta did not provide enough clarity about its benefits, especially regarding health care, while the other two said they liked its packaging.

Even with generous severance benefits, mass layoffs can carry legal risks and, if they’re not planned out, they can spur litigation.

“When companies do things like this too quickly, they can make mistakes that create problems,” said Melissa Atkins, labor and employment partner at Obermayer. “Even if something is neutral on its face, it can be discriminatory in its impact.”

Twitter has come under fire from a proposed class action, which claims the company failed to give employees enough notice of mass layoffs under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Act (WARN).

Atkins expects to see more layoffs in the coming months, and it’s possible that we haven’t seen the last cut in Big Tech or in Meta.

“I think if my job had survived, I would be nervous now,” said one Meta employee.

Meta shares rose 10% on the day after the market closed on Thursday, but are down about 66% year-to-date.

Allie Garfinkle is a Senior Tech Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter at @agarfinks.

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