Stellantis uses ‘mandatory remote work day’ to cut 400 white-collar jobs

Stellantis uses ‘mandatory remote work day’ to cut 400 white-collar jobs

White-collar workers at Chrysler-parent Stellantis have reason to be nervous if they ever receive a company notice telling them it’s mandatory that they work remotely on a particular day.

That’s what happened to 400 or so of their colleagues on Thursday. They were informed via a notice that the next day the carmaker would be “holding important operational meetings that require specific attention and participation.”

“To ensure everyone can effectively participate,” the notice continued, “we have decided to implement a mandatory remote work day.” Employees, it indicated, were “expected to work from home unless otherwise instructed by your manager.” The Car Dealership Guy X account shared the notice on Thursday.

The workers in question were salaried, nonunion employees in technology and engineering in the U.S. 

During the remote meeting on Friday, they were informed that they were being laid off. 

The automaker—which counts Jeep, Ram, Chrysler, and Dodge among its brands—said in a statement: “As 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 let go on Friday spoke about the process anonymously with WJBK Fox, a TV station in Detroit, saying, “It was a mass firing of everybody that was on the call.” He suspected the real reason behind the layoffs involved a push to move jobs to “low-cost countries,” noting that Stellantis is outsourcing many jobs to India, Mexico, and Brazil. 

Fortune reached out to the company over the weekend but received no immediate reply outside normal business hours. 

But speaking on Thursday to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the layoffs, the company said it would offer affected workers a comprehensive separation package and transition assistance. It added that the reductions would help it preserve critical skills needed to implement its production plans for electric vehicles. 

The company intends to spend over $50 billion through the end of the decade to electrify its lineup, despite a recent slowdown in EV sales growth and surging demand for hybrids. It plans to offer eight new EV models in the U.S. by year’s end, and more than two dozen by 2030.

Layoffs etiquette

How to properly conduct layoffs, and inform employees of them, is much debated.

Last year, Goldman Sachs eliminated 3,200 jobs in a manner that received criticism. Employees had reportedly been emailed calendar invites for fake morning meetings, some as early as 7:30, at the bank’s New York headquarters. When they showed up, they learned they were being laid off, with their manager looking on.

During Elon Musk’s chaotic takeover of Twitter, some employees found out their jobs were being eliminated after they couldn’t log on to the company email or messaging systems. Others learned their fate via an (unsigned) email sent after the workday. 

An HR professional slammed Musk’s method, tweeting: “When leaders are this craven, it’s because they’re prioritizing their own comfort above others’ or they’re opting not to put in hard, time-consuming work, or both. It’s weak, it’s pathetic, and it’s cruel.”

One X user, responding to the Car Dealership Guy post late on Thursday, accurately predicted what the notice from Stellantis meant, writing: “Layoffs. My company did it just like that. Much easier (and preferred by most employees).” 

The anonymous worker who spoke to WJBK, however, said the layoffs were “absolutely” a punch in the gut. 

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