Fired AOL India employee talks

March 10, 2011

AOL cut more than 900 jobs around the world today — 20 percent of its staff — and  India took a pretty tough cut from the axe: 400 jobs, according to several sources, and 300 contractors, according to another source. The nice thing for Reuters is that we have a big  bureau in Bangalore, not too far from AOL, and plenty of our people know other people there and were able to get important details about the job cuts.

I coordinated some of the coverage from here since I’m hanging out in the bureau, and was happy when I heard that my colleague Nivedita Bhattacharjee got time to talk with one of the employees who was laid off today. Here is some of what he told her. We agreed to his request for anonymity because he wants to get work again and does not want to disqualify himself from jobs because he spoke to the press.

The entire team had a meeting, and they briefed us about how issues will be handled… we work in AOL. It’s something that we are always prepared (for). We were expecting an announcement soon.

They had some U.S.-centric plans, so they didn’t need us.

I’m leaving on good terms. It’s quite a good severance package… In many ways people are satisfied — we are getting four months’ salary as compensation and, depending on each case, there will be other benefits added to it.

Every fired employee (gets) four months of severance, which is pretty good, but with this action, nobody really has much faith in management, and (we) have been scarred by the experience of easily being let go … after being told for months prior that we were a valuable asset. …

Most technology product teams are being moved to HP. Services like finance, advertising,… paid services are now going to move to MindTree. Of course, not every team in full is being moved. They laid off some, and the remaining will become HP and MindTree employees.

Short notice. April 1st is last working day.

Unlike some commenters on, I’m not going to indulge in mudslinging against AOL. It’s a great workplace, but as always, management doesn’t always make the wisest decisions, and often it’s the employees who bear the brunt in the end. C’est la vie!

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