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San Francisco Tech Company Mired in Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Slashes Hundreds of Jobs

Written by George KellyPublished Nov. 02, 2023 • 10:01am
A silver-colored brushed metal sign mounted to a brick wall shines in sunlight. On the sign in lower case black lettering is a company logo.
San Francisco cybersecurity software company Splunk said it will lay off 7% of its staff. | Source: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

San Francisco technology firm Splunk announced it would cut hundreds of staff in a Wednesday email ahead of an all-hands meeting Thursday.

The reductions equate to around 7% of staff—or an estimated 500-plus employees.

The cloud solutions and software provider began the year with nearly 8,000 employees. Around 70% are based in the United States, with 30% in other countries.

Splunk has already laid off some 325 staffers on Feb. 1, contributing to a torrid pace for tech layoffs. In further shaping of what looks to be a rough year for Splunk, a sexual harassment lawsuit alleges the company has a "frat boy culture" and pay issues.

In September, Cisco Systems announced it would buy Splunk at an estimated $157 per share, or just over 30% above its stock price at that time. The $28 billion deal is due to close in September 2024. Cisco shed some of its own staff in September, losing hundreds of workers at two San Francisco Bay Area addresses.

In the email to staff Wednesday, Splunk CEO Gary Steele acknowledged the impact of the staff cuts among workers in the U.S. and beyond but denied they were related to the merger.

"The changes we are announcing are not a result of our agreement with Cisco; they are the continuation of the important initiatives we’ve undertaken across Splunk for more than a year to align our resources and operating structure to deliver ongoing and incremental value for our customers," Steele said. "The overall market has retracted and we expect the macro environment will continue to be unpredictable for the foreseeable future."

According to an 8-K filing Tuesday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, departing staff would be offered severance, health care coverage and job-placement resources. Expenses in severance and some retention payments, as well as employee benefits and transition costs, will cost the company about $37 million with $5 million in non-cash charges.

A Splunk spokesperson did not provide comment on the layoffs to The Standard on Thursday morning, choosing to refer back to the company's 8-K filing.

In late September, Bay Area technology companies announced hundreds of layoffs in five cities. Earlier in October, California tech giant Qualcomm announced it was laying off 1,258 California workers—including almost 200 in the Bay Area, according to California Employment Development Department documents known as WARN notices.

George Kelly can be reached at

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