Your employer really values your work — until having you around impacts the company’s bottom line.
That’s one takeaway from a report released Tuesday by a House subcommittee, which found that the country’s 12 largest employers collectively sacked more than 100,000 workers during the pandemic.
Hourly workers were particularly hard hit, typically the first to be shown the door ahead of salaried employees.
“Today’s report demonstrates that the inequities observed during this crisis are deeply rooted in our economy and have persisted throughout the pandemic,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), chair of the subcommittee, said in a statement.
“These findings underscore the urgent need to address inequality as we continue to work to achieve a strong, sustainable and equitable economic future.”
The employers cited in the report are: AT&T, Berkshire Hathaway, Boeing, Chevron, Cisco, Citigroup, Comcast, ExxonMobil, Oracle, Salesforce, Walmart and the Walt Disney Co.
Each was contacted by CNBC for comment. None immediately responded.
Of the businesses cited in the report, Walmart had the lightest touch when it came to handing workers their hats.
The retail giant laid off 1,240 people. Compare that with the 32,000 fired by Disney and the 26,000 given the heave-ho by Boeing.
To be sure, all employers will act to protect themselves during hard times, and layoffs are a common response to economic downturns.
But the pandemic marked a fire-first-ask-questions-later approach that devastated many workers and their families during a period of enormous uncertainty.
The House report found that older workers were almost always the first to go. Employees aged 50 and older were laid off in some cases at a rate of quintuple the firing rate for younger colleagues.
Black hourly workers were three times as likely as their white counterparts to be let go. Black salaried employees were fired five times as frequently as white salaried workers.
Female hourly workers fared worse than their male colleagues about 30% of the time between 2019 and 2021. The gap peaked in 2020 at nearly 40%.
Clyburn said the findings “highlight the critical importance of enacting a national, universal paid-leave program that gives every American access to … crucial workplace benefits.”
“American workers deserve to know that, no matter what crisis they may face, they will not have to choose between keeping their families fed and caring for themselves and their loved ones,” he said.