A manager at game-engine developer Unity has been fired after calling the company "out of touch".
Miranda Due, Senior Partner Relations Manager at Unity, originally made the remark in reference to an executive's idea for making commuting to Unity's offices easier.
"A Unity exec just shared that they rent a secondary [apartment] in [San Francisco] to make it easier to be in the office- maybe we should all just do this to make it easier to RTO [return to office]" Due tweeted on May 8. "This company has lost it. Completely out of touch."
a Unity exec just shared that they rent a secondary apt in SF to make it easier to be in the office- maybe we should all just do this to make it easier to RTO? This company has lost it. Completely out of touch.May 8, 2023
Less than three hours later, Due followed up her tweet with another post, stating "I got fired on my one year anniversary" The firing also occurred less than a month before Due's vesting date, the point at which an employee receives company benefits (like stock options or retirement funds) after contractually fulfilling a term of employment.
Due explained why she considered such a remark out of touch in a follow-up to the original tweet, stating "Renting an apt in SF would cost me over half my gross mothly [sic] salary. Probably ¾ of my takehome at least."
The firing sparked a debate on Twitter about Unity's conduct, and its recent mandate that employees return to working in the office as of September this year. Former Unity Manager Shayna Moon said in a tweet that unity's leadership should be "ashamed", adding "Your RTO policy is a transparent push to get people to leave the company rather than be laid off to collect severance." She also called the decision to fire Due "embarrassing".
.@unity leadership should be ashamed of yourselves. Your RTO policy is a transparent push to get people to leave the company rather than be laid off to collect severance. And you fire someone speaking out about it? Embarrassing to the good people still there. https://t.co/Dowbq8t96HMay 8, 2023
This was replied to by Unity's Senior Technical Artist James Arndt, who claimed "There are aspects not on social media that likely led to this outcome", stating "I saw some of this with my own eyes". Moon responded "After working at Unity for almost 2 years I am confident in my assessment of leadership and how marginalized employees are treated".
It's unclear whether this is merely office politics spilling out online, or indicative of a more toxic working environment at the company. Either way, Unity hasn't lacked for controversies in the last twelve months. Less than a week ago, the company laid off 600 employees and announced plans to close half its offices, which was all about "setting ourselves up for higher growth" according to Riccitiello. This comes in the wake of another heavy round of layoffs in June last year. Unity also signed a lucrative contract with US Defense last August, while Riccitiello felt compelled to apologise for calling developers "fucking idiots" in July.