The Human Rights Campaign on Tuesday laid off 22 employees because of the coronavirus pandemic.
HRC told the Washington Blade that Alphonso David, the organization's president, "personally reached out to every single person affected to see how he can help them moving forward — both as HRC and whatever way he can personally." HRC did not name the employees who were laid off, citing privacy laws.
David and other members of HRC's executive and senior leadership teams have also decided to cut their own salaries.
HRC has converted three full-time positions into part-time positions. HRC has also frozen its fellowship program and will not fill two dozen open positions.
The laid-off HRC employees will receive severance packages that include at least eight weeks of their salary based on the number of years they worked with the organization and health insurance coverage through COBRA for at least three months.
HRC will allow them to access its Employee Assistance Program "to help with the financial and emotional transition." The laid-off employees will also be able to borrow computers to allow them to look for a new job.
"COVID-19 is affecting the nation and no industry or workplace is free from its impact," Interim HRC Communications Director Nick Morrow told the Blade on Wednesday in a statement. "For us, the economic reality is that because of the cancellation of events that represent critical funding streams, the decline of our economy, and our ineligibility for any federal funding, we could not make up this shortfall without impossibly difficult decisions."
"HRC has been in a state of growth for years, and unfortunately, this economic climate forced us to recalibrate our budget and economic forecasts," added Morrow. "Despite these challenges, however, our membership and volunteer infrastructure remains strong as we prepare and stay focused on the most consequential election of our lifetimes and on programming that is more critical now than ever. With a staff of more than 200 employees, our investment in this election cycle remains our most significant yet."
This article originally appeared in the Washington Blade and is made available in partnership with the National LGBT Media Association.