‘Slow traveling’ climate researcher loses bid to regain job

By Lesley Clark | 02/26/2024 06:58 AM EST

A German judge found Gianluca Grimalda had no right to spend 10 weeks traveling home from a work assignment.

Italian scientist Gianluca Grimalda.

Italian scientist Gianluca Grimalda lost a court case over being fired for refusing to fly back from Papua New Guinea to Germany. @GGrimalda/X.com

An Italian social scientist and climate activist who says he was unlawfully fired because he refused to fly home from a work assignment has lost a court battle to regain his job.

Gianluca Grimalda, who shuns air travel because of its effect on the planet, had sought reinstatement to the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy after losing his job in October. But Grimalda said a judge of the Labor Court in Kiel rejected his appeal last week on the grounds that taking 10 weeks for “slow traveling” is unacceptable if an employer has requested a faster return.

The Kiel Institute, which says it supported Grimalda’s previous efforts to eschew flying, fired him after he took 72 days to travel back from Papua New Guinea to Germany aboard a series of cargo ships, ferries, trains and buses. The institute had requested that he return within five days.
took 72 days to travel back from


Grimalda sued for unfair dismissal, arguing in part that he had the ability to work remotely on his journey back to Europe.