AstraZeneca Plc was sued by a former senior director who claims the drugmaker refused to pay her more than $125,000 in bonuses because she worked from home last year.
(Bloomberg) — AstraZeneca Plc was sued by a former senior director who claims the drugmaker refused to pay her more than $125,000 in bonuses because she worked from home last year.
Elmarie Bodes, who was AstraZeneca’s senior director of business transformation until January, said in the lawsuit filed in South Carolina Tuesday that the company owed her a $124,443 performance bonus and stock options valued at $65,000 for her work last year.
The criteria for each bonus had been “clearly set out,” the suit said, but early this year the company told Bodes that because she worked entirely from her South Carolina home in 2022 and did not come into an office at least three days a week, her performance bonus would be cut in half and she would not get the options.
Bodes alleged that the company retroactively changed the bonus criteria without giving her “any notice at all,” which she said amounts to breach of contract and a violation of South Carolina law.
A spokesman for Cambridge, England-based AstraZeneca declined to comment on the lawsuit.
The allegations show how companies are cracking down to enforce return-to-office (RTO) policies, shifting from incentives like free food and Taylor Swift tickets to more punitive measures. Alphabet Inc.-owned Google has said that office attendance will be incorporated into employee performance reviews, and Amazon.com Inc. Chief Executive Officer Andy Jassy last month told employees who are resisting its new RTO policy that “it’s probably not going to work out for you.”
Still, those efforts have not moved the needle much on office attendance, which barely crept past 50% of pre-pandemic levels last week in 10 big US cities tracked by Kastle Systems.
Bodes seeks to recoup the money she claims she is owed along with attorney fees and other damages. Her attorney, Brian Arnold of the Arnold Law Firm, did not reply to a request for comment.
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