Can an employer force you to move locations?

If the employer has no contractual right to relocate you, you have another option. The employer may make changes to your employment by giving you reasonable advance notice of the change. This includes changes to your location. Therefore, if you have worked in a company for five years and want to move you but do not have the contractual right to do so, you may be given reasonable advance notice of the relocation, probably in the interval of five to eight months, depending on the details of your employment.

The duration of the notice required prior to relocation would be equal to the contractual amount of notice required for termination or the reasonable notice period if the contract does not provide for the required notice. Some companies, in an effort to reduce their overall footprint and reduce overhead, have chosen to close certain offices and relocate those employees to a new location. Energy company Suncor announced that it plans to move headquarters staff from two Ontario offices to Calgary, potentially affecting more than 700 workers. Your employer cannot force you to move to a new office if that increases your commute time by a significant amount or forces you to uproot yourself or your family.

If your employer does not have an express or implied right to move you to a new location, they can fire you without cause, as long as they give you a full compensation package. Severance pay can be up to 24 months' salary and is based on several factors, including age, position, salary, commissions, benefits and years of tenure with the company. A wrongful dismissal occurs when a company fails to provide sufficient severance pay. Employers may make seemingly unreasonable demands for you to keep your job, but in rare cases, you may have some influence.

If you signed an employment contract when you were hired for the position, read it carefully. If the contract states that your workplace will be in a certain city or location, you may have reasons not to move. However, if an employer is moving an entire office and you are the only one staying, the company is more likely to pay fees for breach of contract rather than reversing your relocation. On the contrary, if you signed an employment contract at will, your employer has all the cards and can fire you for no reason.

If you signed an employment contract, it may contain conditions that give the company the express right to impose a relocation. Just like a pay cut or a change in job duties, relocation is a change in the terms of employment agreed between you and the company. If you are fired for an illegal reason, your company fires you in violation of your own company policy, or if you are fired for a reason not covered by your employment contract, you could have reason to file a lawsuit for wrongful termination.

Jackson Jeannette
Jackson Jeannette

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