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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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I have worked for a care company for 10+ years now. Throughout

Resolved Question:

I have worked for a care company for 10+ years now. Throughout this period my regular location has remained the same supported living house. Just over 3 years ago, because one of our tenants passed away and the total hours required in the house were reduced, all of the staff in the house had to undergo applying and being interviewed for the jobs they were already doing. I was successful and returned to this house. I have worked in other houses for for odd days for overtime when they were short staffed to help out but nothing regular. Our Staff "hand book" says that the company may move staff to other locations "after consultation" and my contract says:
"Your normal place of work is ******** bungalow service and at the local office. The Organisation reserves the right, after consultation, to require you to perform other duties and to transfer to any other servicewithin a reasonable distance and it is a condition of your employment that you are prepared to do this."
They want me to work in another house which is very close but i do not wish to do so.
I am a diabetic, with Apnoea and other health problems for which i take a beta blocker to calm me. I do not want the stress of working elsewhere either temporarily or permanent. I already have agreement that I do not have to do the the sleep-ins required by the contract because of my own sleep problems.
My question is: If i refuse to work at this or any other other location Do I have any grounds to fight any alterations they want to make to my working arrangements if they insist on carrying this through.
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 3 years ago.

Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is XXXXX XXXXX it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. have you provided the medical evidence of your condition to your employers


They are fully aware of the Diabetes and apnoea and my immediate manager is aware i am back and forth to the doctor and hospital for other problems

Ben Jones :

Ok thank you leave it with me I need to look up a few things and then get my advice ready.I will post back on here when done there is no need to wait and you will receive an email when I have responded.


thank you

Ben Jones :

Thanks for your patience. From the wording of your contract it does appear that the employer has the right to ask you to move workplace if it is becomes necessary. Such clauses do not give the employer the full power to move you as and when they see fit, but it does mean that if the move is considered fair and reasonable and they follow a fair procedure, it could happen. So for example, as long as the new location is not much further away than the current one and there is a consultation period and you are given sufficient notice to move, they could rely on that clause to require you to move as required.


However, in your case you may have some additional protection based on your medical conditions. If you can show that they amount to a disability in law, then you could try and argue that the employer needs to make reasonable adjustments to assist you in the job and to reduce the negative effects that these changes may have on your health.


In the legal sense of the word, disability can have a broad meaning and there is no single list of medical conditions that qualify. Instead, to establish whether a person is disabled, they need to show that they meet the legal definition of a ‘disability’.


The Equality Act 2010 defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities”.


I will break this definition down:

  • Physical or mental impairment – this can include nearly any medical condition;

  • Substantial effect – the effect must be more than minor or trivial;

  • Long-term - the effect of the impairment must either have lasted or be likely to last for at least 12 months;

  • Normal day-to-day activities – these could include anything considered ‘normal’ in a person's normal daily routine (e.g. walking, driving, speaking, eating, washing, etc.)


If a person satisfies the above criteria, they will be classified as being disabled and will have automatic protection against discrimination, which means that they must not be treated unfavourably because of their disability. In addition, their employer would have a duty to make reasonable adjustments if they are likely to be placed at a substantial disadvantage when compared to non-disabled employees.


What amounts to ‘reasonable adjustments’ can have a wide interpretation and often depends on the individual circumstances. In your case that could be not forcing you to move if the effects of such a move would place you at a substantial disadvantage. It is certainly an argument you could raise if you believe that you are classified as disabled in law.



so provided they don't ask me to do anything i don't do where i am now owing to my conditions, i have to accept it?

Ben Jones :

well, subject to the arguments I raised above, but generally yes as long as it is just the location changing and that is done reasonably then they could ask you to move


not what i wanted to hear. I was hoping that because of the length of time i have been there then i might have had some anchor.


and the fact i was re-interviewed to stay there previously.

Ben Jones :

well that would generally help if you did not have it written down as your normal place of work, but you do so you have a clear indication in your contract as to what your normal place of work is. But at the same time you are also bound by the remaining terms of your contract and assuming there is a relocation clause in there means that the employer could also rely on it as necessary


ok. Thanks

Ben Jones :

you are welcome

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