Xsolla uses secret monitoring system to fire employees 

Occurred: August 2021

Russian payment services company Xsolla came under fire for terminating 150 employees who had been subjected to secretive, ongoing monitoring and 'big data' analysis of their activity at work.

In a leaked letter to the 150 employees, Xsolla CEO and founder Aleksandr Agapitov said 'You received this email because my big data team analyzed your activities in Jira, Confluence, Gmail, chats, documents, dashboards and tagged you as unengaged and unproductive employees.'

'Many of you might be shocked, but I truly believe that Xsolla is not for you. Nadia and her care team partnered with seven leading HR agencies, as we will help you find a good place, where you will earn more and work even less.'

Agapitov's move resulted in an employee backlash, and the prospect of legal action against Xsolla was raised. Agapitov later blamed the mass lay-off on the company's slowing growth.

The incident raised questions about the ethics and transparency of Xsolla decision-making, and about the use of AI in the workplace more generally.

Operator: Xsolla  
Developer: Xsolla  
Country: Russia
Sector: Banking/financial services  
Purpose: Assess productivity
Technology: Online/social media monitoring
Issue: Employment; Ethics/values
Transparency: Governance; Complaints/appeals

Page info
Type: Incident
Published: January 2022