Woke CEO Puts Hundreds Out of a Job with 'Anti-Racist' Layoffs


Layoffs happen, and in the United States under President Joe Biden, we can expect them to happen — a lot.

As unpleasant as job cuts can be, there are certain expectations that people have. A few examples are that they will be minimal, amicable and, above all, based upon business needs.

But what happens when they aren’t?

The reduction of Twilio’s worldwide workforce by 11 percent would have made only a few paragraphs in business publications if the woke tech company had kept to those expectations.

That definitely wasn’t the case.

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In a message posted to the company website on Wednesday, Twilio CEO Jeff Lawson told his team, referred to as “Twilions,” that the layoffs were both “wise and necessary,” attributing them to the company’s having overextended itself during its pandemic growth period.

The company had 7,867 employees as of Dec. 31, 2021, according to CNBC, so the layoffs would be expected to affect about 865 workers.

“Twilio has always been a growth company,” Lawson said. “And as you know, we’re committed to being a profitable growth company. At our scale, being profitable will make us stronger. … We ultimately found that some investments no longer make sense and identified areas where we can be more efficient. ”

However, two-thirds of the way through the 1,000-plus-word “Dear John” letter, Lawson wrote, “As you all know, we are committed to becoming an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression company.”

Should this CEO face consequences for bringing race into layoffs?

He continued, “Layoffs like this can have a more pronounced impact on marginalized communities, so we were particularly focused on ensuring our layoffs — while a business necessity today — were carried out through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens.”

According to The Business Journals’ Bay Area Inno, “Twilio declined to comment on what it meant by conducting layoffs with an anti-racist/anti-oppression lens and whether it meant race was a factor in its layoff decisions. Companies can be sued by employees that believe they were terminated based on race, which is illegal in California and federally, based on the Civil Rights Act.”

We have a whole bevy of labor and nondiscrimination laws to make sure that race cannot be factored into employment decisions.

Most direct is Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

“It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin,” the law says, “or to limit, segregate, or classify his employees or applicants for employment in any way which would deprive or tend to deprive any individual of employment opportunities or otherwise adversely affect his status as an employee, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” (Emphasis added.)

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However, in the text of the letter, Lawson wrote that the company “applied a rigorous selection process” to determine what employees would and wouldn’t be laid off.

If this “rigorous” process was conducted “through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens” and was “particularly focused” on the view that layoffs “can have a more pronounced impact on marginalized communities,” what does that mean for employees who aren’t “marginalized,” in Twilio’s view?

Arizona Republican Senate candidate Blake Masters called out Lawson and Twilio directly on Twitter and said what so many are thinking.

“Corporations are explicitly using racial discrimination in hiring/firing and bragging about it,” Masters said Wednesday.

The only way the questions raised by Twilio’s actions will be answered is through a legal challenge.

We will likely see the practice of hiring and firing “through an Anti-Racist/Anti-Oppression lens” spread unless and until someone has the courage to fight it.

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