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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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. I am on a fixed term contract expiring 30 June 2015. The

Resolved Question:

Hi. I am on a fixed term contract expiring 30 June 2015. The company wish for my role to relocate from my current location (10 minute drive from home) to London (over 1 hour train journey from home). I have stated that it is very unlikely I can make this journey to London as I currently help on the school run to allow my wife to help my disabled father in the morning. I have a mobility clause in the contract saying the role can relocate anywhere in the UK, but this seems a generic clause. I was told by the employer that if I cannot make the journey to London I must resign and the role is not at risk of redundancy just relocation. I was of the opinion that if I cannot relocate (without being unreasonable) the role would be made redundant and I would be due redundancy as I have over 2 years continuous employment. Could you clarify?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 2 years ago.
Ben Jones :

Hello, my name is ***** ***** it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Ben Jones :

I will just get my response ready and respond on here shortly

Ben Jones :

This is not necessarily going to amount to a redundancy because the definition of redundancy under The Employment Rights Act 1996 is:



1. Business closure – where the whole of the employer’s business is closed


2. Workplace closure – closure or relocation of one or more sites


3. Reduced requirement for employees to carry out work of a particular kind (this is where many employees get confused as they believe a job has to actually disappear for them to be made redundant).


So a relocation of a single job does not meet the criteria – you are looking at the whole site where you work relocating for redundancy to kick in.

Even if this was a redundancy situation, the employer may try to use the mobility clause to relocate the employee in order to avoid making them redundant. If the employee refuses to relocate, the employer may be able to fairly dismiss them for misconduct (failure to obey a lawful instruction) and avoid making a redundancy payment. Saying that, if an employer wishes to rely on a contractual mobility clause, it should be satisfied that it can lawfully do so. As such clauses give the employer the unreserved to change any term, so as to evade the general rule that changes must be mutually agreed, courts will rarely enforce such clauses. Nothing but the clearest language will be sufficient to create such a right and the situation must warrant it. Any attempt to rely on such clauses will still be subject to the requirement of the employer to act reasonably and can be challenged as above.

So whilst you may not necessarily be able to ask for redundancy, you could potentially challenge the operation of the clause and argue that it is not clear enough and that this move amount to a breach of contract – you could then either resign and pursue constructive dismissal, or if you are dismissed for refusing to move – pursue the for unfair dismissal.

Ben Jones :

I hope this clarifies your position? If you could please quickly let me know that would be great, as it is important for us to keep track of customer satisfaction. Thank you

Customer:

Thank you, ***** ***** the position.

Ben Jones :

you are welcome, all the best

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