NEW YORK and LOS ANGELES, Feb. 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Buzzfeed recently announced that it would be laying off 15% of their staff, amounting to over 200 employees, to help the company turn a profit. The firing process was staged over several days and employees were originally not going to receive paid time off that they had earned, which led to criticism over how the firings were handled.
In support of the former Buzzfeed employees, a website was created called “Hire a Buzzfeeder,” featuring all of those fired. Following the news of the layoffs, many have accused Buzzfeed for laying off primarily people of color and LGBTQ employees. The writers and producers that were laid off covered topics such as race, culture, mental health, and issues facing the LGBTQ community.
When Buzzfeed was reached out to for comments, they noted that they do not require employees to self-identify their gender identity or sexual orientation. While they cannot provide statistic at this time, Buzzfeed will publish their annual public diversity report at the end of February.
Buzzfeed also stated that after the layoffs, the staff of Buzzfeed US is made up of 34.2% people of color, and 61% women, up from 60% women before the layoffs.
Carney Shegerian, the founder of Los Angeles-based employee rights law firm Shegerian & Associates, has weighed in on the layoffs.
“The allegations against Buzzfeed are deeply troubling. Employers, including Buzzfeed, aren’t allowed to hide behind the guise of a lay-off IF in fact they’re deciding to let employees go based on a protected category, such as one’s sexual orientation,” Shegerian says.
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