Payment provider Xsolla secretly analyzed the activity of all its employees in Russia due to remote work. And decided to fire about 150 of them because of "low activity", which could be reasonable, but illegal, says HR professionals.
The main issue wasn't even the idea in it's core, but the insulting farewell letter, sent by the CEO and founder Alex Agapitov (aka Shurick Agapitov). It was published online in multiple gamedev-related communities and we will quote it as is (fixing some key grammatical issues):
- You received this email because my big data team analyzed your activities in Jira, Confluence, Gmail, chats, documents and dashboards and flagged you as unengaged and unproductive. In other words, you were not always present at the workplace when you worked remotely.
This may shock many of you, but I truly believe Xsolla is not for you. So everything that happens leads for the best. Nadia and her care team have partnered with seven leading HR agencies to help you find a good job where you earn more and work even less. Sasha will help you get a recommendation, including from me personally. And Natalia will read you your rights.
Thanks again for your work. If you want to keep your contact with me, please write me a long letter about your observations, injustice and gratitude.
Full list of those expelled: (not indicated in the screenshots of the letter).
Experts in the field of labor law and recruitment noted that there are too many absurd and even illegal aspects in this whole letter.
- It is counterproductive to evaluate the work of employees not by the performance of tasks, but by the presence.
- Spying on employees is a questionable practice and, upon closer inspection, may be illegal.
- Promising employment through an agency and recommendations from yourself to people you call idlers is odd.
- Such recommendation looks empty and workers will want to turn away from this kind of "help".
- Requirements to write a letter of gratitude after this and wait for the reading of the rights – this is clearly not about working in IT, but about arrest or slavery.
- Such dismissals are fairly easy to challenge in court, at least for the sake of increasing compensation.
At the same time, the company has no direct reason to attack its employees right now: Xsolla was profitable since the first day and up to this point, and against the backdrop of the coronavirus pandemic gamers paid even more, including payments via Xsolla, judging by a recent interview.
It looks especially ironic that earlier Agapitov himself pointed out in an interview that it is necessary to evaluate employees in IT not by assiduity, but by diligence. Apparently, he changed his mind.
UPD: Xsolla CEO explained his previous statements in unique manner
– F**n work hard or f**n leave! – said Alex Agapitov
He said, that company isn't growing so fast anymore, their annual growth fall under 40% and this forced him to lay off people. He also confirmed, that his "big data team" forgot to measure Git commits and some other important activities. So, they probably marked some good workers as idlers, but that's OK, since they will let some of them stay.
But it seems unconvincing that after the incident the valuable people will really want to continue working.