Of all the ways to let someone go, doing it via a Zoom call and after a night shift shouldn't be one of them.
Art depicting three different characters in different poses.

On February 28, EA tried to quietly lay off over 200 quality assurance (QA) testers from their Baton Rouge office. These QA testers were primarily working on the Respawn Entertainment developed battle royale game Apex Legends. The initial reporting about these layoffs came to light via Kotaku, who says that the layoffs happened via a Zoom call.

The process of laying off some 200 employees seems to have very poorly thought out. The Zoom call took place at 8AM as an unscheduled mandatory meeting. This meant that some QA testers would have just finished their night shifts a short time before this meeting began.

The 200 employees at EA Baton Rouge that were laid off apparently account for every QA tester at that location. One former tester took to Twitter to put the layoffs into perspective for those not in the know.

This former employee went on to say that EA Baton Rouge were instrumental in getting Apex Legends ready for its surprise launch in 2019. They continue to note that EA quietly revoked the testers' credentials during the Zoom meeting, and that EA will be paying the fired employees just 60 days of severance pay.

Kotaku's report says that many tester's contracts covered a longer length of time that the 60 days of severance doesn't account for. Those who were laid off were allowed to collect their belongings from the studio, but only under strict supervision by security.

The layoffs came not only as a shock to those who were let go, but also to the full-time supervisors at EA Baton Rouge. These supervisors were not told in advance nor were they given any time to prepare. Many of these supervisors are now left wondering what they're even supposed to be doing now that their teams have been laid off.

When pressed for a statement, an EA spokesperson said the following:

"As part of our ongoing global strategy, we are expanding the distribution of our Apex Legends testing team and ending testing execution that’s been concentrated in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, impacting services provided by our third-party provider. Our global team, inclusive of remote playtesters across the U.S., enables us to increase the hours per week we’re able to test and optimize the game and reflects a commitment to understand and better serve our growing community around the world."
The idea to move testing to other, more global locations probably isn't too surprising. It's entirely possible that these testing locations located outside of North America are getting paid less than what the team at EA Baton Rouge were paid per hour. Going back to the Twitter thread from the former employee, it seems as though the testers at EA Baton Rouge were making at least $18 (USD) per hour. The former tester says that at his current QA job (probably not with EA), they are making just $14 per hour.

Whatever the full reason is, it's a safe assumption to say that this was part of a cost-cutting measure by EA. These layoffs come almost exactly a month after EA announced they are shutting down both Apex Legends Mobile and Battlefield Mobile. EA had also shutdown the studio that was working on Battlefield Mobile, Industrial Toys. Kotaku notes that in 2022, EA gutted their customer service teams in Austin, Texas. These customer service jobs were instead outsourced to locations in Europe and India.