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February 10, 2024

Legal News

February 10, 2024

The Tech Layoff Wave of 2024

by Jaleel Menifee

The recent spate of layoffs across major tech companies, including Amazon, Google, and Duolingo, has brought the issue of labor laws and employee rights into sharp focus. These companies have been compelled to downsize their workforce in a bid to "right size" their operations and reduce costs amid ongoing recession fears.

The Scale of Layoffs:

In a significant development, Twitch, Amazon's live streaming site, announced a thirty-five (35%) percent staff reduction, totaling about five-hundred (500) employees. Amazon's audiobook division Audible also saw a hundred (100) job cuts. Concurrently, Amazon's Prime Video and MGM Studios divisions witnessed several hundred layoffs as well, following an extensive review of business operations.

Google, not far behind, laid off hundreds across various divisions, including engineering and hardware. This included staff working on the Google Assistant. Similarly, language learning app Duolingo cut ten (10%) percent of its contract employees, opting to rely more on artificial intelligence for content generation.

Other tech companies like AI startup Humane, Discord, and Unity Software also announced significant layoffs. Humane is reducing its workforce by four (4%) percent, Discord by seventeen (17%) percent, and Unity Software by a staggering twenty-five (25%) percent.

The magnitude of these layoffs is considerable. More than three-hundred and five thousand (305,000) employees lost their jobs in major U.S. layoffs last year, with significant reductions occurring in tech and manufacturing sectors. Companies like Amazon, Google, Meta, and Microsoft announced massive layoffs, with numbers running into thousands per company.

Labor Laws and Employee Protection:

These layoffs highlight the critical importance of labor laws in protecting employee rights. Labor laws are designed to ensure fair treatment of employees during layoffs, including adequate notice periods, severance pay, and other benefits. They also provide a framework for companies to follow ethical and legal guidelines during downsizing processes. The tech industry's layoffs are partly attributed to the lingering recession fears and an uncertain economic environment. Companies are compelled to restructure and adapt to changing market conditions; however, this adaptation should not overlook the importance of fair labor practices.

The wave of layoffs in the tech industry underscores the need for robust labor laws that safeguard employee interests. While companies must make tough decisions in challenging economic times, it's imperative that these decisions are made with a strong adherence to legal and ethical standards in employment practices. This approach ensures a balanced and fair treatment of employees, even in times of organizational restructuring and downsizing.

The attorneys at Outside Legal Counsel LLP specializes in all employer-employee related matters and represent both employers and employees. Our aim is to ensure that all employment-related decisions are made with an eye towards avoiding liability. Please reach out to us for more information about our services and how we can help you navigate this rapidly changing landscape.

This is not legal advice and is attorney advertising.

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