Outrage after Williams-Sonoma FIRES over 100 workers on group Zoom call before Christmas

'It's awful, people are devastated,' one of the fired staff members said, adding that as a single parent, she could no longer 'afford Christmas'


                            Outrage after Williams-Sonoma FIRES over 100 workers on group Zoom call before Christmas
People walk into a Williams-Sonoma store on March 24, 2009, in New York (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Upscale retailer Williams-Sonoma has come under fire for abruptly terminating the contracts of many staff members in a series of brutal conference calls just days before Christmas. The workers who have been fired were working remotely as the company’s seasonal support and were not permanent employees. But what shocked them was that their jobs were terminated more than a month before their contracts ran out.

According to reports, the remote staff was working for the retail company and its subsidiary labels Pottery Barn and West Elm. One of the fired staff members, who did not want to be named, told The Daily Mail, “It's awful, people are devastated. I'm a single parent, I can no longer afford Christmas.”

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Although the home goods giant claimed that they fired the workers in “small group meetings” of about 10 to 15 over a call, the unnamed former female employee, who had worked as a furniture associate, dismissed the retail chain's claim and said that there were over 100 people on call when the terminations happened.

But Williams-Sonoma remained unapologetic about firing the remote workers, maintaining that there is no fixed time frame for the hiring or termination of staff members who are hired for seasonal assignments. These jobs can begin and end at any time during the retail surge between August and January. “With a lot of seasonal work, the bulk of the work takes place prior to Christmas. There's nothing that promises the end date of the seasonal assignment,” a spokesperson noted.

But the terminated employees did not think like that. She said, “[With] this whole work from home culture now, there's such a lack of respect for workers. It was just really awful to be treated this way.” A video of such a call showed a manager telling people, “We want to thank you for your time with us and for helping us make the season a success. Right after this call we want you to clock out.”

The manager’s announcement led to outrage as a fired worker asked, “You're doing this on Christmas week, whose idea was this?” The manager answered, “This is not open for discussion, we're not having this conversation.” The staffer fired back, “We're going to have this conversation! What are you going to do, write me up? You gonna write me up? You just fired us!”

Some others can be heard asking, “Why would y'all put us all in this big Zoom meeting instead of doing it one-on-one?” The manager added: “If you have further questions, you need to go to HR.” Then a voice came, “I just joined the call, I'm not sure what's going on.” To which, a person replied: “We got fired on Christmas week.”

The woman who spoke to DailyMail.com also claimed that such firing calls have happened at least five to six times in the past few days. She was hired in September along with a number of workers and they were expecting that their time with Williams-Sonoma would conclude at the end of January 2022. But over the past few days, just before Christmas, the termination calls began to happen. She claimed, “They said clock in and get on the call, don't do any work. As soon as the call was over we were locked out of the company systems.”

The source added: “I feel really awful, we're still in this pandemic, the new variant is coming about. This is a job that I knew was seasonal, and that's fine, but to put us all on a phone call a month earlier is so humiliating.”

A lot of people have reacted to Williams-Sonoma’s mass firing on online forums and on social media. A critic said, “People who were hired last week on Friday were fired today. That’s not at all what people expect when they think ‘temporary’. 3 days is not temporary, that’s a jerk move.” The second one tweeted, “Have to say this again for people who don't know. Your job only cares about how much you can make them and when you become a Negative you get tossed out. there is no Loyalty in business only Profit.” “Definitively not buying from them now,” the third one added.