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Dating app Grindr loses nearly half its staff after trying to force a return to office

LGBTQ dating app Grindr ended its remote work policies and forced employees to relocate. Nearly half of its staff left.

In early August, Grindr announced a return-to-office mandate. The policy gave workers two weeks to choose between relocating to their respective team’s newly assigned “hub” city to work in-person twice a week or leave the company with severance, according to the Communications Workers of America (CWA).

Approximately 80 of Grindr’s 178 workers were forced to leave as of August 31, the CWA said Wednesday. Many of these workers were hired remotely and were required to relocate to new “hub” cities — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington D.C.

The CWA also said the return-to-work policy was retaliatory and in response to a union drive at the company. Just two weeks prior to Grindr’s policy change, a majority of employees filed to organize a union.

“Rather than recognize the union, the company issued a new return-to-office policy requiring staff to relocate or quit,” the CWA said in a statement. The union has filed an unfair labor practice charge against Grindr with the National Labor Relations Board.

A Grindr spokesperson said the latest claims by the union “have no merit.”

“We are looking forward to returning to the office in a hybrid model in October and further improving productivity and collaboration for our entire team,” the spokesperson said.

The dispute highlights the tensions between employers and workers over return-to-office policies more than three years after the Covid-19 pandemic forced millions of white-collar employees to work remotely.

According to the Conference Board’s August survey of 185 US HR executives, 73% of organizations reported challenges getting workers to return to the workplace.

The push for on-site work may be hindering efforts to retain workers. Seventy-one percent of employers that are mandating their on-site work policy reported difficulty retaining workers, according to the survey.

Some big-name employers have said they will get tough on enforcing their return-to-office mandates after Labor Day.

Last month, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy told employees they were free to disagree with the company’s policy requiring them to be in the office at least three days a week. But, he added, if they don’t comply, their futures at Amazon might not be, um, bright. A few weeks prior, the company had sent emails to some employees letting them know their badge swipes indicated they were not coming in as often as required.

Meta, meanwhile, told employees that by September 5 those already assigned to an office must come in three days a week, and managers would track attendance, according to a report from Business Insider. Noncompliance could result in disciplinary action, including a lower performance rating or, if unaddressed, dismissal.

CNN’s Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this article.

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