I was once manager of production, responsible for about 45 people. One day, early in the morning, the owner stopped by my office and informed me that we had just lost our major contract. As a result, we soon wouldn't have enough work to keep people employed.
When I enquired which one of us should tell the staff this, he instructed me not to inform anyone. Instead, I was to "find any reason to terminate employees.” For example, if someone was a few minutes late to work, I should immediately terminate them. He said, "If that doesn't work... give them tasks that will make them want to quit."
I argued against this but the owner threatened to fire me. It was tough times in manufacturing and I needed the job.
Over the next four months I had to personally lay off 85% of our employees. Then they fired me.