Can an Employer change your place of work?
Unless it is deemed ‘unreasonable’, an employer is entitled to enforce a mobility clause if it is within a contract of employment. A mobility clause allows an employer in England and Wales to move an employee to a different workplace if required within certain limits, forcing employees to move to places allowed by the clause, unless this is completely unreasonable.
In a recent case, however, - Ms F Tsang v HRS Family Law Solicitors Ltd: 1300548/2021 - an employee won a claim for wrongful dismissal after being sacked by her employer for pushing back against a direction to relocate with immediate effect to another office. The claimant’s case was that whilst she accepted that the respondent had the contractual right to move her to another office, it was not serious misconduct. She had requested more time to consider the position. Her case is that it was not serious misconduct for her simply to fail to move immediately without further discussion or proper warning and indeed without a disciplinary meeting.
Judge Gaskell said - “My conclusions are that is a clear contractual right on the respondent to require an employee to move to another office. However, in my judgement, it must be implied that the respondent would act after proper consultation and proper consideration of an employee’s concerns before enforcing that contract.”
Following Correct Employment Law Procedures
As this case highlights, an employer who attempts to exercise a mobility clause unreasonably may result in the employee taking legal action. Disputes of this nature can be complex, resulting in claims of constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal or even discrimination. Certain regulations also protect employees’ rights if the location move is due to an employer being taken over and the new owners want to relocate. These regulations are known as TUPE - Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment. Employers could make their employees redundant. However, deciding whether redundancy rules apply is a complex area that should be considered carefully, ensuring correct procedures are followed.
Expert Employment Law Solicitors
If you are an employer and need staff to relocate, or if you are an employee and your employer is asking you to move location, and you are unsure what you can and cannot do, our specialist employment law solicitors in South West London can help. We work with both employers and employees to ensure they understand their rights, and we can pursue and defend claims across a wide range of employment law disputes.
Our experienced and understanding team are here to help you. We will work with you to ensure the best possible outcome.
This blog post is not intended to be taken as advice or acted upon. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our team of solicitors