How to handle relocation of business premises
Author: Claire Birkinshaw
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- Be aware that the dismissal of employees because they do not wish to move to new business premises will still normally constitute a redundancy dismissal.
- However, also be aware that a valid and applicable mobility clause can be invoked at the outset to implement a business relocation rather than following a redundancy programme and, in this case, it will avoid the need for a redundancy dismissal - any subsequent dismissal for refusal to relocate would usually be for misconduct.
- Take into account that, although mobility clauses may be useful for other reasons in relation to a business relocation, they cannot be relied on to broaden an employee's place of work and hence to avoid liability to make redundancy payments where a redundancy programme has been instituted.
- If an employee refuses to move to the new business premises, in determining whether or not a redundancy payment is payable, consider whether or not he or she has unreasonably refused an offer of suitable alternative employment.
- Commence consultation with the affected employees as soon as possible and bear in mind that collective as well as individual consultation may be required.
- Be aware of the possibility of an indirect sex discrimination claim from a woman who refuses to move to the new premises.