Elon Musk has stated that any employee of social media platform Twitter who is able to work in the office but who does not return, will be let go from the business.
Musk, who bought Twitter earlier this month and has since reportedly fired around half of the global workforce and introduced various new initiatives to boost profits, held a one-hour question and answer session this week.
He acknowledged that if a member of staff’s contribution was critical to the organisation, to the extent that they can overcome what he described as the communication difficulties of being remote, then they might be allowed remain in their roles.
During the meeting, Musk said: “There are plenty of people at Tesla and SpaceX that do work remotely, but it is on an exception basis for exceptional people. And I totally understand if that doesn’t work for some people. That’s the new philosophy at Twitter.
“Let me be crystal clear. If people do not return to the office when they are able to return to the office, they cannot remain at the business. Basically, if you can show up in an office and you do not show up at the office, resignation accepted. End of story.”
Mike Tremeer, employment partner at Fladgate, said: “I would expect either of those actions separately to have a materially detrimental effect on staff morale, loyalty and commitment, especially given the recent commentary regarding quiet quitting or work to rule. It seems inevitable to me that those employees still at Twitter will therefore be considering options elsewhere and so there is the prospect of a tangible loss of key talent. And potentially a real difficulty in attracting new talent given the events of recent weeks and the new boss’ apparent disregard for Twitter employees.”
Georgina Calvert-Lee, senior consultant and barrister at Bellevue Law, added: “Most employment contracts allow a business to determine where an employee works, within reason, and this is set out in their terms of employment. Imposing a policy that everyone goes back to pre-pandemic working practices, in line with their contracts, is within Musk’s rights.
“However, in imposing a new policy to require staff to abide by their contractual place of work, Twitter will have to be careful not to indirectly discriminate against those for whom a five-day office schedule may pose particular difficulties. The organisation should consider individual requests for flexi-work and grant it where appropriate.”