A Chinese advertising agency is being slammed on social media after its former employees alleged that the firm used a cunning trick to convince them to resign. According to the South China Morning Post, the company relocated from a busy city to a remote mountainous area, forcing almost 70 percent of its workforce to resign. Employees have alleged that the relocation was a tactic to avoid paying severance to staff members.
The rural mountain area requires a two-hour, one-way commute, and very limited transport options, according to an employee who exposed the company.
”My colleagues without vehicles had to rely on a bus that ran every three hours and then walk another three kilometres through mountainous paths to reach the office,” the former employee, surnamed Chang said.
More so, the company provided them with no transport facilities. Mr. Chang added that a cab from the nearest metro station charged 50-60 yuan (Rs 600-700 approx.), which the company refused to reimburse or subsidise.
Further, the new location was not only remote but also lacked basic amenities, forcing female employees to travel to the nearest village just to use a public toilet. He also expressed concern about the safety of employees on the commute back home in the dark, given the number of stray dogs in the area.
Despite complaints from employees, management refused to do anything about the situation, forcing 14 of the 20 employees, including Mr Chang to resign. However, in a new twist, they discovered that the company had moved back to the city centre and was actively hiring new staff. Former employees alleged that the move to the mountains was just a dirty trick to avoid paying employees severance.
A company spokesperson refuted these allegations, saying, ”The Central Business District rent was high, and the new office was being renovated. We were operating a homestay, so we temporarily moved there for a week.” He added that the company was considering legal action against its former employees for tarnishing its reputation.
Reacting to the incident, one internet user wrote, ”The employer is cunning and manipulative. Bosses being like this is truly dangerous.” Another wrote, ”A labour contract specifies the work location. Moving from the original office constitutes breach of contract. Employees could opt for forced resignation and seek compensation.”