Mattel Wanted Its Remote Workers to Be OK With Regular Surprise Visits from the Boss

Mattel Wanted Its Remote Workers to Be OK With Regular Surprise Visits from the Boss
Photo: Richard Drew, AP

Toymaker Mattel has removed language from a remote job description for its American Girl brand that said selected employees would be subject to “periodic unplanned visits” from supervisors during work shifts. However, that was far from the only requirement that raised eyebrows and provoked indignation over the job posting.

The posting for “Seasonal Customer Service Home Agents,” who process customer orders on the phone, gained traction in recent days after screenshots of the outrageous requirements were shared on social media. Besides unplanned surprise visits from the boss, the job also required selected employees to work in a closed-door area with “no distractions,” provide their own high-speed internet, and be free from “the caretaking of others.”

The company, home to brands like Barbie, Hot Wheels, Fisher-Price, and Masters of the Universe, did not spare details in its requirements. The closed-door work area, for instance, needed to be free from “distractions or background noise (ie: pets, children, machinery, music or talking),” according to a screenshot of the job posting on Twitter. Mattel also stressed in the posting that selected employees must be “focused on work” and not caring for people or pets.

“Freedom from other responsibilities – you must be focused on work and not responsible for the caretaking of others (children, elderly, pets, etc.),” the company wrote in the job description.

It appears that Mattel didn’t get the memo that we’re currently living through a pandemic, an extreme situation that has sometimes kept children at home for months at a time and sickened more than 46 million Americans, some of whom also have to stay at home when they are ill.

Mattel confirmed to Gizmodo on Friday that the job description was authentic but clarified that it had been taken down in early October. The company said it had hired 250 seasonal employees for the role in 2021.

Mattel’s American Girl division told Gizmodo that it “prides itself on providing a supportive environment for employees and ensuring information security for our customers.” The reference to information security seems to be the explanation for requiring a closed-door work area, but still doesn’t explain why there can’t be any “distractions” or “background noise.” Perhaps the person who wrote the job posting has never worked in an office.

“Our Seasonal Customer Service Home Agent positions process customer orders, requiring those individuals have access to a private workspace to protect and maintain customer confidentiality,” a company spokesperson said. “While security is a critical piece of this role, the job description no longer includes language about unplanned visits, which were never put into practice.”

Although it’s good to know that these highly invasive surprise home visits were not put into practice, the company still maintained its other draconian requirements. It’s amazing Mattel was able to hire anyone at all for the role, let alone 250 people. Because it didn’t want people, it wanted human-like robots with no needs and no life.