London: Short video platform TikTok is reportedly investigating claims of an aggressive work culture after a senior executive at the firm allegedly said he “didn’t believe” in maternity leave.
Joshua Ma has now stepped back and been replaced in his role leading the social media firm’s UK e-commerce team, the BBC reported citing The Financial Times.
It follows a probe by the newspaper which alleged a staff exodus from TikTok’s London offices.
According to the Financial Times, the launch of TikTok Shop — the firm’s live stream shopping feature — in the UK prompted a number of staff to leave and complaints about an aggressive culture that goes against typical working practices in Britain.
The newspaper also carried reports of long working hours, with members of the e-commerce team saying they are expected to regularly work more than 12 hours a day.
The incident with Ma relates to a dinner with staff earlier this year, where he allegedly said that as a “capitalist”, he “didn’t believe” companies should offer maternity leave.
The company said it has a clear maternity leave policy in the UK, which includes 30 weeks of paid leave.
But the alleged remarks are being seen as a sign of a wider culture clash between TikTok’s Chinese owners, ByteDance, and a number of its London-based workers.
“We are investigating alleged statements and actions to determine whether there has been a breach of company policies,” a TikTok spokesperson said.
On the topic of work-life balance, the spokesperson said that employees “may at times need to work hours that match customer use patterns.