Fresh Takes

Buzzfeed Doesn’t Get a Pass for Mistreating Their Employees

After Huffington Post’s recent purchase by US-based Buzzfeed, Huffington Post Canada and Huffington Post Quebec blindsided employees with mass layoffs in a cost-cutting move, firing 23 employees and completely shutting down operations.

Employees were originally promised three days’ warning, but when Huffington Post Quebec employees logged on to the website, they saw their termination was immediate. Indeed, management shared that they had kept it a secret intentionally, even using a password similar to “spring is here!” for the layoff Zoom to mask the purpose of the meeting.

Ironically, Buzzfeed has long painted itself as a virtuous defender of workers, savaging companies facing tough times for doing less than what they’ve just done. They have gone after companies for firing with only 60 days’ notice, for not continuing to pay laid-off employees, for firing during the pandemic, and for not rehiring employees in other parts of the business. In that last example, Buzzfeed characterized the layoffs, conducted with little notice as retailer Wet Seal went bankrupt, as an “ambush” that “former employees and customers have deemed unnecessary, disrespectful, and deeply misleading.”

The hypocrisy is stark. In fact, all employees deserve to be treated with respect and open communication, particularly for life-changing events such as layoffs, during a pandemic no less. The self-appointed virtue police don’t get a pass on having to treat their employees like human beings.

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