There's really no good way to tell someone they've been laid off, but discovering you've been locked out of your work email account is a pretty unpleasant way to find out. On Tuesday (13 October), Bart Teeuwisse, a software engineer who had worked for the company since 2011, posted a Tweet showing how he learnt the bad news.

As many people do, Teeuwisse looked at his smartphone in the morning. The screenshot he posted showed that at 5.24am he received an email saying "You have been removed from Twitter, Inc". Then, when he tried to load his Twitter email, his iPhone sent him an iOS notification telling him it could not access the account.

Teeuwisse's tweet has been retweeted 3,800 times and favourited 1,700 times since he posted it at 3.51pm PST (11.51pm BST). He later clarified that Twitter had called to inform him that he was laid off, but went straight to voicemail and he only received it after finding out about the email lockdown.

Teeuwisse's is not an isolated experience, however. Reddit user LaidOffIn140 posted on the social bookmarking website that he too had learnt he was laid off when his email client had trouble connecting to his Twitter email account. While LaidOffIn140 posted on Reddit looking for advice on how to go through the process, the discussion in the thread soon morphed into looking at how other companies behave when retrenching employees.

Reddit user growflet, who claimed to have witnessed seven lay-offs at tech companies in the US since the dot-com bubble burst in the early 2000s, said that common mistakes made by companies included employees receiving severance cheques before they had been told they were laid off or being receiving awards for outstanding service, then being laid off in the same day.

Other mistakes included employees arriving at the office to find their belongings had been placed into a box; employees who were not being laid off having their work accounts shut off by accident; and in one situation, an employee who was allowed to roam around the office building for the rest of the day attempting to sabotage the code on a company network.