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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 50148
Experience:  Qualified Employment Solicitor
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Jones , I've worked current employer years...our head offic

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Hi, I've worked for my current employer for 8 years...our head office is 62 miles from my house (usual place of work is 16 miles away). Discussions have taken place today to advise me that I'm required to work from head office...can they force this change?
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. What does your contract say about this, for example is there a nominated place of work and what does it say about being required to move locations if needed?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi, my contract states:
"you based at the Willenhall depot and the Company may from time to time, require you to work at other locations on a temporary basis. During the course of your employment you may be required to travel the UK in the performance of your duties."
Hello, sorry I was offline most of today. I presume Willenhall is the usual place of work which is where they are trying to move you away from. This is the place which is specified as your usual place of work in your contract. It does state that you may be required to work at other locations ‘from time to time’ on a temporary basis. Clearly this would not allow them just move you on a permanent basis to work from the head office. Also the other wording stating that you may be required to travel the UK is there just to allow them to ask you to travel wherever needed around the country to perform your duties. However, it does not just allow them to move you on a permanent basis, there does not appear to be a permanent mobility clause in there. In the circumstances there are a couple possible scenarios which could apply: one is that this may amount to a redundancy situation if the usual place of work is actually closing down. The other is that this amount to a change of your contractual terms and conditions, assuming they are just moving you without it being prompted by a closure of the workplace. You have rights in both situations and can challenge this if needed. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have now to challenge the matter further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
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Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Hi there, no worries whatsoever...thank you for getting back to me.I just feel very wary about what they could potentially try to enforce. This has all come about from the CEO visiting Willenhall on Tuesday morning; he asked me for a catchup and during which expressed his view that he thinks my role should sit in Head Office. My line manager left in February of this year (he was based in Willenhall also) and my new line manager now is based out of Head Office.It's a weird one this because I actually agree with the decision!My line manager called me on Tuesday afternoon to discuss and he ended up asking me what I want...I didn't disclose anything as I was due into Head Office yesterday. Upon arriving I went to see him and had a "without prejudice" conversation where I told him that I agree with the role being based out of Head Office (if it was my business I would be making the same decision) but I am not willing to make the commute each day, he suggested agreeing on 1/2 days per week but I know if that I agree to this 1/2 days will very soon become 3/4 then 5. I have reminded him that I am only on a four week notice agreement (he wasn't aware of this) and that I think we should come to an agreement where I will support and transition the role to Head Office...for a period of 8, 12 or 16 weeks. He said to leave it with him but I know they are going to come back with the suggestion of 1/2 days per week...which is what prompted my original question. I've not mentioned redundancy on purpose yet as I want to see what initial response I receive from them. Am I now in a position to agree a compromise?Kind Regards
Thank you. So as mentioned there are a couple of options here. I presume your branch is not closing so this would mean it is not a redundancy situation. Instead it would amount to a change to your contractual terms and conditions.There are a few ways in which an employer may try and make changes to an employee’s contract of employment. These are by:• Receiving the employee’s express consent to the changes. • Forcefully introducing the changes (called 'unilateral change of contract').• Giving the employee notice to terminate their current contract and then offer them immediate re-engagement under a new contract that contains the new terms.If the changes are introduced without the employee's consent, then the following options are available:1. Start working on the new terms but making it clear in writing that you are working ‘under protest’. This means that you do not agree with the changes but feel forced to do so. In the meantime you should try and resolve the issue either by informal discussions or by raising a formal grievance. 2. If the changes fundamentally impact the contract, for example changes to pay, duties, place of work, etc., you may wish to consider resigning and claiming constructive dismissal. The resignation must be done without unreasonable delay so as not to give the impression that the changes had been accepted. The claim must be submitted in an employment tribunal within 3 months of resigning and is subject to you having at least 2 years' continuous service. You would then seek compensation for loss of earnings resulting from the employer's actions.3. If the employment is terminated and the employer offers re-engagement on the new terms that could potentially amount to unfair dismissal. However, the employer can try and justify the dismissal and the changes if they had a sound business reason for doing so. This could be pressing business needs requiring drastic changes for the company to survive. If no such reason exists, you can make a claim for unfair dismissal in an employment tribunal. The same time limit of 3 months to claim and the requirement to have 2 years' continuous would apply.Finally, it is also worth mentioning that sometimes employment contracts may try to give the employer a general right to make changes to an employee’s contract. 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. An alternative way out is to approach the employer on a 'without prejudice' basis (i.e. off the record) to try and discuss the possibility of leaving under a settlement agreement. Under a settlement agreement, the employee gets compensated for leaving the company and in return promises not to make any claims against the employer in the future. It is essentially a clean break, although the employer does not have to agree to it so it will be subject to negotiation. In any event, there is nothing to lose by raising this possibility with them because you cannot be treated detrimentally for suggesting it and it would not be used against you.