Can Your Employer Make You Relocate?

Employment Law | January 10, 2023

Employment relocation can have a substantial impact on your life, especially if you need to commute a long distance every day, move to a new city, or relocate to a new province. Despite this impact, some employers may still request their employees to relocate to work in person from a specific location. This has become increasingly common as offices move away from remote or hybrid models and back to conventional in-person settings. Accordingly, it is vital to understand whether your employer can or cannot make you relocate. That is why the employment lawyers at Linley Welwood have put together some information to help you determine if your employer has the right to relocate you or if their attempts constitute constructive dismissal.

Learn about 5 common employment contract questions and their answers.

2 Important Factors to Consider

To determine if your employer can force you to relocate, it is crucial to consider the following elements:

1. Employment Contract Clauses

One of the first elements to consider before agreeing to be relocated is the clauses in your employment contract. If your contract contains a mobility clause, your employer has the right to move you to another location within the bounds of the clause. For example, if your mobility clause states that you can be moved to another location within BC, your employer can force you to move to another city within the province. Should your employer request you to relocate to an office outside of BC, you would need to agree to this arrangement as your employer cannot force you to move in this situation.

2. The Significance of The Relocation

In addition to your employment contract, the impact of the relocation should be considered by your employer. This is especially important if you have a vague mobility clause in your employment contract or only have a verbal agreement in place. If relocation will require you to move to a new city or impose an hour-long commute to your workday, you may not need to agree to it. Significant moves to another city, province, or country will typically require an advance agreement between the employer and employee, as this will have a significant impact on the employee’s life outside of work.

Can Your Employer Force Relocation?

In many cases, an employer cannot force an employee to relocate unless there is a clear mobility clause in your employment contract. If your employer is requesting you to relocate per your mobility clause, they have every right to do so. If you do not wish to relocate in this situation, your employer can accept this refusal as your resignation. Should your employer have no contractual right to relocate you, they may be able to make changes to your employment agreement by giving you advance reasonable notice instead. The length of notice will vary based on the contractual amount of notice required for termination, much like severance pay. If your employer attempts to force you to relocate without a mobility clause or sufficient notice, this could be considered constructive dismissal.

To learn more about employment contracts or to speak with one of our employment lawyers, get in touch with the team at Linley Welwood. We can be reached through our online contact form and will be happy to answer any questions you may have regarding our services or your situation.

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