According to reports, a Chinese advertising agency allegedly resorted to extreme measures to force its employees to quit without pay.
Once based in downtown Xi'an City, the company is said to have relocated to a remote mountain area, creating harsh working conditions with minimal facilities to encourage employees to leave.
The company's motive behind such actions is believed to be an attempt to cut down on employee wages and expenses. These actions have caused considerable controversy and raised ethical concerns.
What an Extreme Move
The advertising company reportedly moved its operations to the Qinling Mountains in China's Shanxi Province, which was called one of the strangest ways to get workers to quit.
Moving required a two-hour commute each way, and there weren't many ways to get to the new workplace, so employees were stuck and had a hard time getting there.
Chang, a former employee, said that people without cars had to take a bus, which cost an average of $8 that ran every three hours, and then walk three kilometers through mountain trails.
Not getting paid for transportation costs, like a taxi ride to the nearest train station, made things even harder and made workers worry.
Troubles in Other Places
Not only was the new location far away, it also didn't have basic amenities. For example, female employees had to go to the nearby village to use the public toilets.
There were worries about safety because there were so many stray dogs in the area, especially at night. Even though employees complained, management allegedly did nothing about the difficult situation, making things worse for the staff.
Leaving their jobs out of frustration
After several failed attempts to talk to higher-ups about the problem, 14 of the 20 employees, including Chang, quit.
But four days later, they were shocked to learn that the business had moved back to Xi'an City and was looking for new employees.
People have said that moving to the faraway location was an intentional plan to get workers to quit without paying them.
The Public Reacts
In response to the viral claims, the advertising company said it did nothing wrong and would sue the former employees for hurting its reputation.
A company representative said that moving to the remote area was only temporary because of the high rent in the Central Business District and the fact that they had been renovating since they ran a homestay.
“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,” the company rep claimed.
But some former employees don't agree with this explanation and say the company is playing down the situation. They say that at first, they were told that the remote mountainous area would be the company's headquarters for a long time, maybe even a year.
On Chinese social media, almost all comments were positive toward the former workers, and the company was criticized for being unfair and possibly breaking the standard labor contract.
In other news, a company attempted to lay off its employees via Zoom call, a decision that grew to an uncontrollable chaos. The video of the call went viral and sparked a debate about technology in the workplace and the need for empathy during layoffs.