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LISTEN: Bird electric scooter company laid off hundreds of its employees in a 2-minute Zoom call

A Bird scooter sits parked on a street corner on April 17, 2018, in San Francisco.
A Bird scooter sits parked on a street corner on April 17, 2018, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Bird, an electric scooter startup, delivered news of mass firings to more than 400 of its employees over a 2-minute Zoom call.

According to employees, Bird was a workplace with a high turnover and the virtual lay off felt careless and dehumanizing, The Verge reports.

According to The Verge, Bird’s leadership was described to them in multiple interviews as “bros with personality problems,” “very into nepotism,” “not sound decision makers,” and “a bunch of frat boys who all looked and sounded alike and made a lot of money.”

According to a former employee, some received the news of their lay off secondhand if their shift was later in the day or because the company had purchased a webinar license that was too small and accidentally locked many invitees out, The Verge reports.

According to The Verge, an IT staffer who wrote the script to instantly deactivate the accounts of those who were laid off had no idea his own account would also be disabled as he was included in the mass firing.

In a statement to dot.LA reps for Bird said “layoffs are never easy or comfortable to do and COVID-19 has impacted the way they are done in at least the near term...We are eternally grateful to the impacted individuals and wish that the entire situation could have been avoided.”

dot.LA first broke the story and obtained audio of the Zoom meeting.

“Lots of companies have to lay people off right now,” said a data scientist for Bird who was dismissed after a year and half at the company. “People will recognize the companies who did it well and the ones that didn’t. I hope Bird is the one that is remembered as one who did it poorly.”


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