Layoff Watch ’20: PwCer Claims Performance Ratings Are Purposely Being Bumped Down to Make Separation Decisions Easier During the Pandemic (UPDATE)

[Updated on July 1 with additional comments.]

During the numerous webcasts PwC has held with employees in the past two to three months, PwC leadership has supposedly repeatedly stressed that there would be no layoffs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, and if you go on the usual chatter sites, most PwCers believe that. But the skeptics (usually from Deloitte) say these PwCers are drinking way too much of the orange and yellow Kool-Aid, saying PwC will definitely lay off people in the coming months because of the Rona and disguise it as “performance based.”

One person at Papa Whiskey Charlie told us on June 25 this is definitely happening, as this person was told they would be exiting the firm involuntarily due to performance. But (s)he alleges that PwC is using trickery with performance ratings to make it seem like staff cuts are due to performance when in reality they are due to the virus:

Just got laid off from PwC US. Due to the pandemic, forcing some of us with a rating of 3 get bumped to a 4 in order to get terminated “based on performance”.

They are basically using ratings as an excuse to lay people off. Basically saying if the 3-rated bucket doesn’t fit everyone, some will be forced to move to the 4 bucket and 5 bucket and laid off for performance reasons. They will try to use prior year ratings as another reason as to why they will bump you down. It was even brought up that they see the PR regarding PwC on Going Concern’s site that still says PwC US isn’t laying people off but they are … just like in the recession. The notion of allowing us to keep our jobs is only to brainwash those that don’t get the boot but the booted ones are told that it is just simply performance based.

It’s mainly like what RSM US or Deloitte is doing with layoffs and making it “performance based”

This might be an isolated situation with a lone wolf or it could be a sign of things to come. Who knows! Any other PwCers concerned about this?

[UPDATE] As this week has progressed, it has become apparent that this might not be a lone-wolf situation. We got contacted on July 1 by another soon-to-be ex-PwCer who claimed the same thing as what the person above experienced 100% happened to them too:

Was let go for “underperformance” earlier this week, even though the last several of my snapshots for the 2020 performance year had a vast majority of “at levels” or above for the 5 components of the PwC framework. Was placed in Tier 5, even with these snapshots. My official last day is a month from the day earlier this week I got the news that I was going to be let go for underperformance.

I get paid as normal till my last official day with the firm and get paid for any vacation days I haven’t used/accrued. In addition, I get a two-week severance package with an extra $1000 included in it for the coronavirus pandemic.

I got no warning during my meetings with my career coach and relationship leader earlier in the year that I would be let go near the end of June – no warnings or official improvement plan. The separation notice due to my underperformance was a complete shock to me. Medical, dental and vision coverage for me ends at the last day of the month in which my “official last day” of employment occurs, unless I elect COBRA coverage.

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