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Young Woman Films Herself Getting Fired On Zoom By A Man She’s Never Met — And He Refused To Tell Her Exactly Why

Photo: Anna Shvetz / Canva Pro
woman upset while using computer

If you think getting fired is the worst thing that can happen to you at work, imagine being fired by someone you’ve never met — and they can’t even give you a valid reason why. 

One woman shared a video of herself being fired during a Zoom call by a man she never met.

In her video, Brittany Pietsch, an account executive at a website security company called Cloudflare, explained how her co-workers had all been receiving random 15-minute call invites all day, and her best friend from work told her she was laid off during hers.

30 minutes later, Pietsch received her invite and hit record on her phone to document the layoff meeting. As she was being connected to the Zoom call, she anticipated the dreadful news, but she was prepared.

   

   

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In the call, Pietsch was met with two unfamiliar faces, a woman named Rosie from HR and a man named Dom, whom Pietsch claimed to be a director that she’d never heard of before. 

Dom explained how after completing their 2023 performance evaluations, she did not meet Cloudfare’s expectations for performance, and they would be letting her go. 

Pietsch defended her work and asked for an explanation.

Pietsch, who had only worked for Cloudflare for under five months, three of which included training, immediately interrupted Dom to disagree. During her employment, she claimed she closed and managed three deals, she had the highest activity on her team, and she only ever received positive feedback from her manager. 

“I wanted to stand up for myself because what did I have to lose?” Pietsch said.

Pietsch further explained how she had picked up on her role’s responsibilities rather quickly and she believed everything was going really well. She expressed her confusion toward being laid off by two people she had never met, rather than her own manager or director.

Young Woman Films Herself Getting Fired On Zoom By A Man She’s Never Met Photo: instaphotos / Canva Pro

“I disagree that I haven't met performance expectations, when I certainly have,” Pietsch asserted during the call. “I’m just definitely confused, and I would love an explanation that makes sense.”

Dom reiterated the same vague explanation multiple times, claiming he could not reveal any specifics as to why Pietsch did not meet performance expectations.

Nonetheless, Pietsch persisted. She continued to ask why they could not share this information with her. She gave Dom and Rosie multiple opportunities to offer a valid explanation for her termination, but they refused to reveal any plausible details.

“I don't think Dom or myself today is going to give you any clarity or answers that's going to meet the expectations that you’re communicating to us,” Rosie stated flatly.

   

   

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While Rosie and Dom told Pietsch her frustration and questions were understandable and valid, they continued to contradict themselves by avoiding Pietsch’s questions, replying with indirect and vague answers.

In one statement, Rosie appeared to have found a compromisable solution, stating she would be happy to follow up with Pietsch after the call to share her performance data — although it seems odd for a company to explain reasons for termination after said termination. However, Rosie retreated to their nonnegotiable position, claiming she could not make any promises and would need to ask their revenue leadership team if she could share that information.

Regardless of Pietsch’s unwavering determination to get answers, Rosie and Dom seemed restricted from sharing the details of her termination during their call, but their poor delivery and lack of empathy sparked debate online regarding termination etiquette. 

Pietsch was terminated seemingly without cause, and she’s not the only one upset about this unforthcoming dispute.

Despite Pietsch's claims to have achieved her position to the best of her abilities with nothing but positive feedback along the way, she was not given any warnings or opportunities to redeem her so-called low performance and instead was terminated immediately.

In fact, during a recent earnings call, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince claimed that Cloudflare frequently rotates out their underperforming employees with new, fresh talent that can better succeed at the role.

In response to Pietsch's video, Prince posted a response on X explaining that around 40 sales representatives were fired out of 1,500, which he described as a "normal quarter." He additionally stated that Cloudflare determines if sales hires will be successful or not within three months or less.

“It must be very easy for you to just have these 10-minute, 15-minute meetings, tell someone they’re fired, completely wreck their whole life, and then that’s it with no explanation. That's extremely traumatizing for people, if you can imagine that,” Pietsch expressed. “I have really given my whole energy and life over the last four months to this job, and to be let go for no reason is like a huge slap in the face from a company that I really wanted to believe in.” 

Due to the number of employees that were also let go and the lack of communication of layoffs, it is evident that Cloudflare’s hasty staff reduction may have been for reasons beyond their performance.

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An HR consultant named Molly reacted to Pietsch’s video on TikTok to offer her take on the termination.

Molly explained that it’s reasonable for a company to let employees go due to an overall staff performance review. However, she was taken aback that Dom specifically said Pietsch’s layoff was because of her individual performance, which she characterized as a termination for cause. This means an employee has defied company policy in some way, relating to disorderly behavior, such as theft, misconduct, or fraud. 

She explained how those who are laid off or fired can collect unemployment benefits, but some terminations for cause can be denied these benefits. Cloudflare may have intentionally blamed laying off their employees on their low performance so they could avoid granting them any unemployment benefits. 

   

   

Molly critiqued Pietsch’s overall layoff experience as impersonal and lacking empathy

“It’s not a good sign if halfway through a layoff meeting that you're leading, the person still doesn’t know why they are being laid off,” Molly expressed. “And remember at the beginning they said it was for her performance. If you're going to say that to someone, expect them to ask you, what about their performance was it?”

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Pietsch’s video has caused widespread debate about companies like Cloudflare that easily let go of employees with little to no explanation. 

Even Prince agreed her video was "painful to watch." He acknowledged the flaws with Cloudflare’s firing process, which he claimed he planned to improve moving forward. He justified Cloudflare’s quarterly layoffs by explaining how employees who are “unlikely to succeed off the team” will find a position more suitable for them elsewhere. 

Nothing feels more discouraging than being let go from a job you’ve put your all in, with no explanation other than failing to meet performance expectations. It’s bad enough that someone has to be fired, let alone blamed for it after putting so much effort and dedication into their role. 

Young Woman Films Herself Getting Fired On Zoom By A Man She’s Never Met Photo: Kaspars Grinvalds / Canva Pro

It’s definitely not easy to terminate anyone from a company, but those who are responsible for doing so have to ensure they are considering the employee’s feelings and needs. They need to be prepared to answer questions and to offer sympathy in a way that elicits compassion and understanding. Rosie and Dom may have been restricted with what they could reveal about the firings, but their layoff delivery signified a company with little humanity and respect toward its employees.

While it’s unfortunate that Pietsch was let go from a job she had been dedicated to, she deserves to work for a company that will consider her value and demonstrate a healthy, direct line of communication.

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Francesca Duarte is a writer on YourTango's news and entertainment team based in Orlando, FL. She covers lifestyle, human-interest, and spirituality topics.