Reuters reports that a lawsuit claims new Twitter owner Elon Musk’s instruction that remote staff return to the office and work “long hours at high intensity” discriminates against employees with disabilities.
Dmitry Borodaenko, a California-based engineering manager who has a disability that makes him vulnerable to COVID-19, said he was fired when he refused to report to the office. He filed now a proposed class action against the company in San Francisco federal court.
He says the call for workers to return to the office or resign violates the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which requires employers to offer reasonable accommodations to workers with disabilities. The lawsuit said many other Twitter employees with disabilities have been forced to quit because they could not meet Musk’s demanding performance and productivity standards.
In a separate complaint filed in the same court on Wednesday, Twitter was accused of laying off thousands of contract workers without giving the 60 days’ notice required by federal law.
In the UK, writing in the Sunday Times, Laith Al-Khalaf says that despite the rising number of job-seekers looking for remote work, many graduates are loath to work from home for fear of missing out on promotion or even being sacked in their absence. With the UK now officially in recession, remote staff risk becoming invisible to employers during tough times when jobs may be on the line, says financier Baroness (Helena) Morrissey.
James Reed, chief executive of the recruitment agency Reed Group, agrees: “A lot more people are coming in now because they want their bosses to see them and are worried about being made redundant in the new year when the recession bites.” Reed adds that this fear of recession is eroding the bargaining power that workers had as Britain emerged from the pandemic: “The worm has turned, the jobs boom has finished, employers are becoming less flexible and pay is rising slower.”