The story of Mr Diallo being sacked by machine began when his entry pass to the Los Angeles skyscraper where his office was based failed to work, forcing him to rely on the security guard to allow him entry. It wasn’t the first time his key card failed and had assumed it was just time to replace it.
Then he noticed that he was logged out of his work system and a colleague told Mr Diallo that the word “Inactive” was listed alongside his name.
His day got worse. After lunch – and a 10-minute wait for a co-worker to let him back into his office – he was told by his recruiter that she had received an email saying his contract was terminated.
Mr Diallo reported for work next day to find he had been locked out of every single system and then, after lunch, two people appeared at his desk. Mr Diallo was told that an email had been received telling them to escort him from the building.
“I was fired. There was nothing my manager could do about it. There was nothing the director could do about it. They stood powerless as I packed my stuff and left the building.”
At the time, he was eight months into a three-year contract and over the next three weeks he was copied into emails about his case. He watched it be escalated to bigger and more powerful titles over and over, yet he explained how no-one could do anything about it.
“It was soulless and written in red as it gave orders that dictated my fate. Disable this, disable that, revoke access here, revoke access there, escort out of premises, etc.”
It took Mr Diallo’s bosses three weeks to find out why he had been sacked. His firm was going through changes, both in terms of the systems it used and the people it employed. His original manager had been recently laid off and sent to work from home for the rest of his time at the firm and in that period he had not renewed Mr Diallo’s contract in the new system.
After that, the machines took over – flagging him as an ex-employee. All the necessary orders are sent automatically and each order completion triggers another order. For example, when the order for disabling my key card is sent, there is no way of it to be re-enabled. Once it is disabled, an email was sent to security about recently dismissed employees. Scanning the key card is a red flag.
Although Mr Diallo was allowed back to work, he had missed out on three weeks’ worth of pay. He described being escorted from the building “like a thief”. He had to explain his disappearance to others and found his co-workers became distant.
Not surprisingly Mr Diallo decided to move to another job.
You can read Mr Diallo’s blog about the experience here.