- PagerDuty’s CEO has apologized for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in an email about mass layoffs.
- The email, which also included data on an executive promotion, has been criticized as tone-deaf.
- The quote was “inappropriate and insensitive” and the email’s tone was mistaken, CEO Jennifer Tejada said.
The CEO of tech firm PagerDuty has apologized for quoting Martin Luther King Jr. in an email to employees asserting mass layoffs.
In a company-wide email on January 24, Jennifer Tejada announced that PagerDuty was reducing 7% of its workforce globally. She also said the corporate was reducing prices and lowering office area, attributing the adjustments to the “volatile economy.”
“I am reminded in moments like this, of something Martin Luther King said, that ‘the ultimate measure of a [leader] is not where [they] stand in the moments of comfort and convenience, but where [they] stand in times of challenge and controversy,'” Tejada wrote, barely tweaking the original quote from the civil-rights activist and together with her own phrases in brackets.
The original quote was first said by King in a 1958 speech, and was included in his 1963 ebook “Strength to Love.”
Tejada confronted backlash for the email, seen by many as tone-deaf. Tom Gara, a expertise communications supervisor at Meta, called it an “all-time classic bad layoff announcement.”
Tejada also used the email to announce the promotion of an executive, saying in an upbeat tone that she was “excited” to nominate him.
“It is unbelievably callous to announce layoffs and the promotion of executives in the same email,” one particular person wrote on Twitter.
In a follow-up email to employees on Friday, Tejada apologized for the preliminary announcement.
“The way I communicated layoffs distracted from our number one priority: showing care for the employees we laid off, and demonstrating the grace, respect, and appreciation they and all of you deserve,” she wrote.
“There are a number of things I would do differently if I could,” Tejada continued. “The quote I included from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was inappropriate and insensitive. I should have been more upfront about the layoffs in the email, more thoughtful about my tone, and more concise. I am sorry.”
As of January 2022, the corporate had 950 staff. It has places of work in the US, UK, Australia, Canada, and Portugal.
Tech corporations together with Google, Meta, Salesforce, Amazon, and Microsoft have all announced mass layoffs in latest months. Many corporations have resorted to shedding employees utilizing abrupt and largely impersonal emails.
Some affected Google employees told Insider they have been shocked they have been let go by email, which one calling it “super disrespectful.”