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'Quiet Cutting' Is the Latest Workplace Danger — Here Are 3 Signs You'll Be Out of a Job Soon Sometimes, a role reassignment is a more cost-effective means of termination.

By Amanda Breen

Key Takeaways

  • Employers use "quiet cutting" to avoid outright layoffs and costly severance packages.
  • If a reassignment results in a pay cut or requires relocation, you might be getting quietly cut.

"Quiet quitting," the TikTok-fueled trend of employees doing the bare minimum at work, has been joined by another "quiet" movement: "Quiet cutting," the practice of reassigning roles in a bid to make employees leave without laying them off outright.

A role reassignment is defined as "a change of an employee, while serving continuously within the same agency, from one position to another without promotion or demotion," according to the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

Of course, role reassignments aren't always made with this intent; sometimes it's the only way to keep workers employed. But other times, these measures are a way to "quiet cut" and avoid paying costly severance packages or unemployment benefits, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Related: Quiet Quitting Is Taking Over the Workforce. Here's How to Fix It.

Layoffs hit the tech industry particularly hard, and some of the biggest players had to restructure as a result. Meta took a $4.2 billion restructuring charge for the fourth quarter, which included severance for employees who were laid off last year, The New York Times reported.

So, when is a role reassignment a good-faith way to keep an employee on, and when is it just a less expensive termination?

Roberta Matuson, an executive coach and advisor to businesses including General Motors and Microsoft on human-resources issues, told the WSJ several things suggest you're being "put out to pasture."

If your reassignment is well below the pay or skill level you currently have, requires relocating when your boss knows that's not feasible for you, or lands you in a division that's rumored to be axed next, you're likely on the receiving end of a "quiet cut," Matuson said.

Related: What Is 'Quiet Hiring'? And How You Can Use It To Your Advantage.

Generally, there's not much legal recourse for workers who find themselves quietly cut either, unless workers can show the reassignment was retaliatory, employment attorney Angela L. Walker told the outlet.

Amanda Breen

Entrepreneur Staff

Senior Features Writer

Amanda Breen is a senior features writer at Entrepreneur.com. She is a graduate of Barnard College and received an MFA in writing at Columbia University, where she was a news fellow for the School of the Arts.

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