Step 1: Is it a redundancy?
In many cases, when a business is relocating in part or in whole, there will be a possible chance of some redundancies.
An employee is dismissed by reason of redundancy if the employer has ceased, or intends to cease, to operate in the place where the employee was employed, or if the employer needs fewer employees to do a particular kind of work at the place where the employee works.
If any of these tests apply, the employer must devise a fair method of selecting those employees whose roles are potentially redundant and will have a duty to consult with the individual employees.
Further, if it is proposed that 20 or more employees will be dismissed by reason of redundancy within 90 days at one establishment, the employer must notify the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy and inform and consult trade union or elected staff representatives.
This collective consultation process must commence at least 30 days (if 20 to 99 staff are potentially redundant), or at least 45 days (if 100 or more staff are potentially redundant), before the first of the dismissals takes effect. However, as part of any redundancy consultation process, the employer must consider alternatives to redundancy, such as relocation.
Step 2: What does the contract say?
An employer needs to consider whether it has the right, under the contract of employment, to relocate employees.
An employee’s place of work should be expressly noted in the written statement of employment terms and conditions or employment contract.
Many contracts will also contain “mobility clauses” which gives the employer the discretion to alter this work location to a new location within a reasonable area. Although at face value a mobility clause may appear to allow the employer to insist that the employee should relocate to the new place of work, in reality such clauses are usually interpreted very narrowly and often against the employer seeking to rely on it.
The employer must also be careful not to breach its duty of mutual trust and confidence. Even if the proposed move clearly falls within the scope of the mobility clause, this duty will mean that, as a minimum, the employer must usually give the employee plenty of notice of the proposed move and consider providing financial assistance to meet any relocation expenses.
The employer’s business reasons for the transfer and the employee’s personal circumstances are both relevant in assessing whether the employer has acted reasonably.
Radstones Human Resources department is fully conversant with all aspects of staff relocation and would be delighted to give an initial consultation over the phone on any of the numbers below or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org
LA: 001 (213) 218-6677
NY: 001 (646) 751-8766
EMEA: +44 (0) 1865 238 138
APAC: +64 (9) 801 0002