CEO replaces 90% of support staff with AI chatbot, calls layoffs … – Samfiru Tumarkin LLP

Dukaan, an Indian tech startup, has slashed its support staff by 90 per cent after integrating an artificial intelligence (AI) chatbot into its operations.
In a Twitter post, Suumit Shah, founder and CEO of the Bangalore-based e-commerce company, said the layoffs were “tough”, but “necessary.”
We had to layoff 90% of our support team because of this AI chatbot.
Tough? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
The results?
Time to first response went from 1m 44s to INSTANT!
Resolution time went from 2h 13m to 3m 12s
Customer support costs reduced by ~85%
Here’s how’s we did it 🧵
— Suumit Shah (@suumitshah) July 10, 2023

“Given the state of economy, startups are prioritizing ‘profitability’ over striving to become ‘unicorns,’ and so are we. It’s less magical, sure, but at least it pays the bills,” Shah said in a reply to his tweet.
“Customer support had been a struggle for us [and] fixing it felt like an opportunity to me.”
In response to backlash he received from other Twitter users, Shah noted that Dukaan is hiring for “multiple roles.”
According to the company’s website, the openings include positions in sales, marketing, and engineering.
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Dukaan’s LinkedIn page claims that the company employs a total workforce of more than 270 people.
With a growing number of businesses looking to integrate artificial intelligence into their operations, it’s important for non-unionized workers in Canada to understand their rights if their employer decides to replace them with AI.
Employers in Canada can fire non-unionized workers and fill their position with AI — even if they are effectively performing the duties of the job.
This is called a termination without cause. You can be let go for any reason, as long as:
WATCH: Employment lawyer Lior Samfiru explains what rights employees have if they are being fired or let go on an episode of the Employment Law Show.

However, it’s very unlikely that your boss would be able to fire you for cause — meaning no severance package or access to Employment Insurance (EI) benefits.
Considered the harshest punishment in a company’s arsenal, it’s reserved for the worst kinds of workplace offences, such as blatant disobedience, theft, or assault.
To justify terminating you for cause, your employer would have to prove progressive disciplinary measures were applied and that a lesser penalty wouldn’t be suitable, which is very hard to do.
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In Canada, reasons for terminating a non-unionized employee are considered discriminatory when they infringe on a protected ground under federal or provincial human rights legislation.
Examples of protected grounds include:
While recent advancements in AI, such as ChatGPT, are providing companies with new ways to improve productivity, the implementation of technological solutions at work can’t violate the human rights of staff.
If you are fired or let go, and believe that a reason for your dismissal was discriminatory, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.
We can help you secure the compensation you are entitled to through a wrongful dismissal claim as well as a human rights complaint.
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Non-unionized employees in Canada have the right to work in an environment that is free of harassment and discrimination.
If you do experience discrimination at work, you can file a human rights complaint.
The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, Alberta Human Rights Commission, and B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, are examples of organizations that are responsible for dealing with complaints pertaining to their province’s human rights legislation.
Successful complaints can result in compensation, and even reinstatement, for the individual who experienced discrimination.
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No matter how badly your employer wants to replace you with artificial intelligence, the company can’t pressure or force you to resign.
If your boss is influencing you to step down, document their attempts. Keep any letters, emails, or text messages that show how your employer is pressuring you to quit your job.
Once you have gathered all of the relevant documents, don’t resign before contacting our firm. You might have grounds for a constructive dismissal claim.
If you were forced to resign for any reason, reach out to an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.
In addition to severance pay, you could be owed compensation for any damages associated with the end of your employment.
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In Canada, employers can’t punish or threaten to punish non-unionized workers for asserting their workplace rights.
If your boss disciplines you or threatens to discipline you for asserting your rights, that is a reprisal and you should contact Samfiru Tumarkin LLP immediately.
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Some jobs can’t be completely replaced by artificial intelligence. Instead of firing you, your employer might offer you a new job supervising or assisting the technology.
If you are offered an alternate role at the company, this will likely include:
When non-unionized employees in Canada have a good reason for rejecting a new job (i.e. reduced pay or unfavourable conditions in the contract), they can still receive full severance pay.
Even if an individual doesn’t have a good reason for refusing the alternate role, they can still pursue their minimum entitlements at the end of their employment.
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In Canada, employers are legally obligated to assist non-unionized workers who can’t perform their job duties due to a disability (either physical or psychological), religious reasons, or other constraints under federal or provincial human rights legislation.
As part of their duty to accommodate, companies may have to:
The goal is to ensure that you can continue to perform your job duties, despite your disability. Your employer can’t get out of their duty to accommodate by having artificial intelligence do your job instead.
If you believe that your company hasn’t properly fulfilled their duty to accommodate, contact an experienced employment lawyer at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.
We can review your situation and help you secure the compensation that you are entitled to through a constructive dismissal claim.
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If you are fired or let go for any reason, or believe that your human rights have been violated, contact the experienced employment law team at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP.
Our lawyers in Ontario, Alberta, and B.C. have helped tens of thousands of non-unionized individuals resolve their workplace issues.
We can review your situation, enforce your rights, and ensure that you receive the compensation you are owed.
Speak with Canada’s most positively reviewed employment law firm today to get the advice you need and the compensation you deserve
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Lior Samfiru is a Founding Partner of Samfiru Tumarkin LLP and Practice Leader for the firm’s Labour & Employment Law Group. His experience in countless successful cases and mediations on behalf of employees and employers, as well as his continued advocacy for the rights of workers, makes him one of the most skilled and sought-after labour and employment lawyers in Canada.
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Consult with Samfiru Tumarkin LLP. We are one of Canada’s most experienced and trusted employment, labour and disability law firms. Take advantage of our years of experience and success in the courtroom and at the negotiating table.
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