Laid-off employee calls out ridiculous email from former boss: 'This is exploitation'

A woman on TikTok is blowing the lid off of something that recently happened to her in an effort to expose workplace exploitation.

“I had to calm down before making this video, because the audacity,” says Kiki (@kikirough), before explaining in her TikTok that she was one of the thousands of Americans laid off about a month ago.

So when she received an email from the male CEO of her former employer, she was obviously surprised. But the email wasn’t about getting her job back or even a kind-hearted check-in to see how she was doing. Instead, it was a request for help.

In a nutshell, Kiki says the CEO was in a bind and asked her to do something that no one else in the company knew how to do after her departure. In her response, the TikToker says she reluctantly agreed to help before listing a few things she believes would need to happen to complete the project.

That said, she wanted to be clear first about compensation since doing work of any kind would cause her to forfeit her unemployment benefits.

Kiki posed what she thought was a reasonable request: Could she get a week’s pay for helping out?

The response she got left her speechless.

“He essentially says, ‘You’re not worth the week’s pay, you can do it for me hourly,'” recalls Kiki, who shows part of the email in which the CEO claims the task should “only” take about a day or two.

Kiki replied with a firm email, telling the CEO that either he would compensate her with a week’s pay or it was not getting done. Then she hopped on TikTok and vented about how problematic this all was.

“The only reason I don’t feel bad sharing this is because this is exploitation,” Kiki went on. “If he can’t afford to give me severance — or notice — then I can’t afford to do things at the expense of myself anymore.”

“The fact that we’re still not treating employees as people with lives makes me very upset,” she added.

In the comments, people immediately cheered her on.

“Good for you!” wrote one user.

“You gave him more than he deserved!” said another.

Many people said they would have been way too angry to reply, let alone offer services.

“I would’ve just replied to the first email with ‘LOL’ and nothing else,” one person admitted.

“I’m an HR professional and my advice – Don’t do it!!!” another person advised. “Cut the ties, they made their decision, let them live with it. Companies DO NOT CARE.”

In the end, that’s ultimately the lesson Kiki learned, too. In a follow-up video, she shared that she has yet to receive a response from the CEO, but the amount of “unwavering support” she received from strangers floored her. It actually prompted her to rescind her offer.

“I responded because I really care about the clients who need to receive these reports,” Kiki explained, adding that she built many great relationships while working at the company.

She now knows she has to let that go, saying, “It’s not my problem anymore.”

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