Labour Research February 2011

Law Queries

Work location

Q. A member’s contract states that they work at the company’s main office in Town A. However, since the contract was issued, they have been relocated to the company’s other office in Town B. Unfortunately, the company’s office at Town B is now being closed and they are facing redundancy. Where are they based?

A. The case law on the issue of what determines location in such a situation is inconclusive. Essentially your member’s work can be determined either by their contract (the test set down by the Court of Appeal in Home Office v Evans [2008] ICR 302) or by the reality of where they work (the older Court of Appeal decision in High Tables v Horst [1998] ICR 409).

Determining which test takes precedence will be a matter for a tribunal, but what exactly was agreed between your member and the employer will be key. Examine what any documentation, including e-mails, relating to their relocation shows and consider how permanent the move was intended to be.

Bear in mind that, under section 4(3)(a) of the 1996 Employment Rights Act, individuals are entitled to receive a written statement of changes to the key terms of their employment within one month of the change.

Also, consider whether they were relocated to Town B so that they would be at risk of redundancy — evidence of which would be helpful in any subsequent claim for unfair dismissal.