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Woman’s Job Unexpectedly Made All Workers Return To Office Despite Their Contracts Saying They Could All Work From Home

Photo: Dean Drobot / CanvaPro
Woman working from home with a laptop.

Most people can probably agree that one positive effect of the pandemic was a workforce that realized the efficacy of remote work. Or, so we thought.

Layah Greis took to TikTok to share her own experience with this debacle, admitting that she was faced with the potential loss of her dream job when her employer pushed a “return to office” mandate. 

Greis' employer unexpectedly required all workers to come back to the office, despite contracts saying they could all work from home. 

After years of being remote, as specified in their employee contracts, Greis' company decided to make a swift return to the office. Notifying their employees of the shift to five days in the office was a shock, to say the least, and many, including Greis, were panicking at the thought of disrupting their routines. 

   

   

RELATED: Woman Feels Happier With A Remote Job So She Can Work In Her 'Safe Space' At Home

“They decided they were just going to vacate and terminate our contracts to write new ones,” Greis said, “and that was it! Everyone was talking about our employment rights… I am not an employment attorney, but at the end of the day, who wants to work somewhere they’re not wanted?” 

After landing her ideal job at this company, Greis felt let down by their dismissal of her preference to work from home but did her best to alleviate the situation by looking for potential exemptions. Greis' original contract had several ‘stipulations’ for staying remote. 

“There were 25 things that must be maintained to keep our ‘work from home’ status,” Greis explained, “and I fulfilled them all, with paper trails.”

However, keeping those promises and ensuring her “receipts” were up to date wasn’t enough, as her company decided to allegedly trash all of their initial contracts. 

Since the “return to office” debacle, Greis confessed she’s been preparing to quit.

Unsure if she would be granted the “hardship” exemption to continue working remotely and despite the “phenomenal” work her union did, decreasing the company’s required days in office from five to one, she still felt “insecure” in her role. 

Amidst her company’s disregard for their employees' lives, well-being, and comfort, many commenters wondered why she took the time to wrap up her projects at all.

“You preparing to save a company that’s being sketchy with you is crazy,” one wrote. 

   

   

“For me, it’s integrity,” she said in a response, “that internal feeling I get… I didn’t want to deal with it. For me, it’s ‘you go low, I go high.’ I am intrinsically motivated and would lose sleep over it… I didn’t want anyone to go through an immense amount of work in the event that they didn’t grant my hardship.” 

RELATED: Man Criticized After Claiming Anyone Who Works From Home Has 'Unlimited Time Off'

With the help of her union and the hardship exemption, Geis was able to maintain her remote status.

“I’ve never in my life felt so insecure in a position,” she said, “but it’s one of the three times in my 20-plus years in the workforce that I don’t want to leave. I love this place and who I work for. It’s a weird situation… and not good for morale.” 

Ultimately, Geis said she was granted a hardship exemption from her employer, which, unfortunately, is a relatively unstable exemption that will, for now, allow her to work from home on the basis of a medical, financial, or other related struggle. 

Woman’s Job Made All Workers Return To Office Despite Their ContractsPhoto: Pavel Danilyuk / CanvaPro

While awaiting the news of her other co-worker’s potential exemptions, she couldn't help but theorize the reason behind her company’s return-to-office mandate, saying it’s likely a “constructive termination,” where they’re “going after retirees.”

Of course, if you have the freedom to work from home without the pressures of going to an office you won’t feel the need to retire as early. This “constructive termination” is a company’s push to remove people from the workforce, by making it “indirectly” more difficult for them to work. 

Ultimately, she acknowledged this is the new landscape of the workforce post-COVID. Employees are looking for flexibility, while employers enforce rigidity for their own benefit. As Greis emphasized, things are “insecure” right now. Despite the enthusiasm you bring to your career, some people are realizing it's tough to find the job security you envision. 

RELATED: A New Study Reveals Just How Much Return-To-Office Mandates Are Costing Workers: A Month's Worth Of Groceries

Zayda Slabbekoorn is a news and entertainment writer at YourTango focusing on pop culture and human interest stories.