Company Allegedly Moves Offices to Remote Mountain Area to Force Employees to Quit

A Chinese advertising agency is being accused by former employees of moving its offices from the city to a remote mountain area to force them to quit and avoid paying them compensation.

In what has been described as one of the most extreme tactics to convince employees to resign, an advertising company based in downtown Xi’an City, China’s Shanxi Province, allegedly moved its offices to a rural mountain area with very limited transport options. The accusations were made by a former employee who claimed to be part of a large part of the staff to leave the company due to the new working conditions. The man, known only as Chang, said that the company notified them that they would have to travel to a new location in the Qinling Mountains, which required a two-hour commute (one way), with very limited options for those without a personal car.

Photo: Qinling Mountains / Wikimedia Commons

“My colleagues without vehicles had to rely on a bus that ran every three hours and then walk another three kilometers through mountainous paths to reach the office,” Chang said, adding that a taxi ride from the nearest railway cost around 60 yuan ($8) and the company refused to cover the costs.

The new location was allegedly not only remote but also lacked basic amenities, forcing female employees to travel to the nearest village just to use a public toilet. The number of stray dogs in the area also made it unsafe, especially after dark. But despite several complaints from employees, management refused to do anything about the situation.

Eventually, after several unsuccessful complaints to the higher-ups, 14 of the 20 employees, including Chang, turned in their resignations. However, just four days later, they were shocked to discover that the company had relocated back to Xi’an City and was actively looking for new employees. They are accusing their former boss of moving the offices to make them quit without having to pay any compensation.

Photo: Headway/Unsplash

After this story went viral, the advertising company came out to refute the claims, threatening to sue the former employees for slandering the company’s reputation.

“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,” a company representative told SCMP.

However, the former employees are now accusing the company of downplaying the situation, claiming that they were told the remote mountainous location would serve as the company headquarters for a long time, possibly more than a year.

On Chinese social media, the vast majority of comments sided with the former employees, accusing the company of manipulative practices, and even of breaking the standard labor contract, which specifies a work location. Changing that location without the employee’s consent constitutes a breach of contract.

Posted in News        Tags: , , , , ,