Cloudflare Firing Goes Viral

Cloudflare Firing Goes Viral: Tears and Tech Spark Ethics Talk

Cloudflare, an internet security company based in San Francisco, recently terminated Brittany Pietsch, a former employee, in a viral TikTok video. The termination was a performance-related one, raising questions about the company’s handling of terminations. Pietsch, who was not the only employee terminated, described the HR representative and director as people she didn’t know. This is a standard practice for terminations, as they base decisions on an employee’s ability to meet measurable performance targets.


In the first place, Pietsch’s video clearly shows that she was not the only person who was fired, so it appears to be a situation involving layoffs. On the other hand, a spokesperson for Cloudflare stated that:

“There were no layoffs at Cloudflare, and the company is not currently in the process of reducing its workforce. An evaluation of an employee’s capacity to meet measurable performance targets is the basis for our decision to terminate their employment in the event that we do decide to do so. The performance of team members is thoroughly evaluated on a regular basis, and those who are not a good fit for our team are terminated. That review process, as well as the number of employees that we terminated after conducting performance reviews during this quarter, cannot be considered exceptional.”

The conversation between Pietsch, Rosie, and a director is unclear. The HR person and director are strangers, as they don’t know Pietsch and what she did wrong. If the job loss is due to poor performance, it should not be the first time she has heard about it. Pietsch should have received positive feedback from her manager before the termination.

Performance terminations should not be a surprise to employees, and the manager should lead these discussions. In this case, the termination process did not occur. The people conducting the termination did not have answers, as they didn’t have clear examples of poor performance. They should have had multiple conversations with the employee, and the manager should be delivered the message. The documentation should be presented to the employee, provided with the necessary paperwork, and wrapped up.

There is no legal issue with terminating like this, as unless it was chosen for protected reasons, such as race or gender, conducting a bad termination isn’t legally actionable. However, Pietsch should apply for unemployment and appeal if denied, as this is not a termination for gross misconduct, and she should be entitled to unemployment.

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