Reddit's New Employee Policy Is Harsh, But Legal

The social news site Reddit came under vitriolic attack this week after word got out that it had implemented a new tough-love employment policy, right after closing a $50 million investment deal.

Reddit is now obliging its remote workforce to relocate to San Francisco, a decision that CEO Yishan Wong says will promote “optimal teamwork.” 

“Our goal is to retain 100 % of the team,” Wong tweeted, defending his company against charges of capricious rule-making.

[jump] Wong says his company is offering a generous relocation package and three month's severance for anyone who can't make the move by the end of the year. Even that hasn't placated critics who believe that an Internet company should understand — and embrace — the concept of working remotely.

Not to mention that Reddit is yanking its employees into one of the most expensive and constricted housing markets in the country.

That said, the policy is completely legal, according to Golden Gate University associate law professor Hina Shah. Because California is an at-will employment state, companies can subject their employees to unilateral decisions based on their business needs, Shah says. So long as Reddit doesn't violate a union or employment contract, or invoke its new policy in retaliatory and discriminatory ways, the employees have no legal ground to object.

In fact, Shah adds, the company didn't even have to provide relocation packages. 

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