‘You’re fired… all of you!’

Board shake-ups…shareholder rebellions…how else could insurance company Aviva – an established infrastructure investor – liven up its days? Well, how about mass termination? Indeed, while you may not have heard the news, Aviva actually fired the entire workforce of Aviva Investors – its asset management arm – back in April.

Granted, the mass lay-off was brief, and happened only because one clumsy human resources employee mistakenly forwarded a termination of contract email to the entire London staff. But that still didn’t stop the 1,300 workers at Aviva Investors’ headquarters from having the blood drained from their faces – at least until they looked around and realised everybody else was looking equally pale.

In the midst of a restructuring process entailing job cuts, it’s hardly the sort of email workers want to receive. Fortunately, the mistake was corrected a few minutes later when a second email from human resources apologised for the mass firing, saying the email had been intended for just one employee – presumably the only one in the room still looking deathly pale and not breathing a sigh of relief.

But the real question is: did the employee responsible for the mistake end up in receipt of such an email themselves by the end of the day?