Stellantis mandated a remote work day to then lay off 400 employees

If your boss asks you to work from home for a day, keep this story in mind. Car manufacturer Stellantis, the parent company of Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, and other brands, just laid off 400 workers in the US who were on a “mandatory remote work day.”

On Thursday, March 21st, Stellantis employees received an important notice about a “mandatory remote work day” for all Stellantis Salaries Non-Bargaining Unit employees in the Engineering and Technology organization in the US.

The reason: “On Friday, March 22nd, we will be holding important operational meetings that require specific attention and participation.”

According to the letter shared on X by Car Dealership Guy, employees were expected to work from home “unless otherwise instructed” by their manager. They had to ensure they had the tools and resources for remote work.

“Thank you for your flexibility,” the letter ended.

The next day, the company announced the layoffs of roughly 400 employees, effective March 31st. That corresponds to about 2% of employees in affected units “after rigorous organizational reviews,” CNBC reported.

“Stellantis has struggled with weak sales – more than any other car brand – in light of a cooling new car market,” the Car Dealership Guy post reads.

In a prepared statement, Stellantis explained that “the auto industry continues to face unprecedented uncertainties and heightened competitive pressures around the world.”

“Stellantis continues to make the appropriate structural decisions across the enterprise to improve efficiency and optimize our cost structure.”

One mechanical engineer described the layoffs as the “mass firing of everybody that was on the call” and a punch in the gut, WJBK Fox, a TV station in Detroit, reported.

The practice of using remote work policies for layoffs is debated from an ethical standpoint, as it raises several concerns, such as deception and lack of transparency, lack of respect and dignity for employees, emotional distress, and erosion of trust. TheStreet described it as “a sneaky new tactic.”

Some workers even started filming their layoffs during remote calls and putting them on TikTok or other social media accounts – a practice that has recently become a trend.

According to the data tracker, 219 tech companies have already laid off 50,841 employees since the start of 2024.

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