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How to handle relocation of business premises

Author: Claire Birkinshaw

Summary

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  • Be aware that the dismissal of employees because they do not wish to move to new business premises will normally constitute a redundancy dismissal.
  • However, consider whether there is a valid and applicable mobility clause that can be invoked at the outset to implement a business relocation rather than following a redundancy programme.
  • Be aware that any subsequent dismissal for refusal to relocate, where a mobility clause has been activated, would usually be for misconduct.
  • If invoking a mobility clause, consult employees about the relocation.
  • If no mobility clause is activated, if an employee refuses to move to the new business premises, consider whether or not they have unreasonably refused an offer of suitable alternative employment.
  • Commence redundancy 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 women who refuse to move to the new premises.