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VIC Workplace Relocation - Options Under Employment Law?

Discussion in 'Employment Law Forum' started by mxryda, 13 May 2016.

  1. mxryda

    mxryda Active Member

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    Hi,

    Our workplace has announced that we will be relocating around 30mins away from our current location. On a normal day to the current location, it's around 20-30mins travel time, however, this new location would see us venturing to the city with well over an hour in travel time.

    Public transport is not an option for me as I suffer from major anxiety via public transport so I am left with the only option to drive which would see an increase to my monthly spend of around $500-$600 when you take into account parking which would now need to be paid for as well as tollways and extra petrol.

    This now concerns me with my health and finances as I can't justify the added money to get to work. The business has given the message either move with the company or quit / be sacked.

    Does anyone have any legal help here, are there other options for me under Employment Law? I've asked for an allowance for the extra travel, etc but if I am declined all of this, can I follow any other path?

    I've been with the company around 15 years.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. mxryda

    mxryda Active Member

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    Also I have just noted under the section of my expired AWA contract 'relocation' in particular, I haven't initialed this page but I have initialed every other page. Does this mean the contract could be deemed as void as what if I wasn't even shown this page to begin with?
     
  3. Michael T

    Michael T Well-Known Member

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    What do you mean by your 'expired' contract? Do you have a current contract? Are you employed full time?

    Also, are you part of a particular union that can assist you?
     
  4. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi there,

    First place to start is to see what your contract says. Courts will generally not allow an employer to change an essential term fo a contract of employment where the change was not envisioned by the parties. Courts are not inclined to allow a chance where a contract expressly mentions the location where the employment is to be performed. However even if your employment contract does not say where your place of work is, the court will determine if its reasonable to request you to relocate to hte new premises based on whether similar employment opportunities exist at the new place of work, the amount of notice given, the ease of access to the new location, efforts to accommodate employee transitioning, the size and nature of the employer and the amount of additional travel time and disruption to personal life of the employee and inconvenience suffered.

    If a court does consider the relocation unreasonable it amounts to a repudiation of the employment contract - meaning the employer is acting as if it no longer considers itself bound by its contract with you. In this case you can claim damages for breach of contract which may include loss of remuneration, loss of future earnings and other benefits. Alternatively your employer may have to offer you a redundancy package.
     
  5. mxryda

    mxryda Active Member

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    Hi, Michael and Sophea.

    Michael: Expired AWA contract meaning I am still bound by its terms and conditions but the contract expired after 3yrs I believe and I just remained on it as my agreement without signing onto a new type (ITEA, EA etc)

    Sophea: My contract states 'you will initially be based in Melbourne, Vic', however, the actual relocation section mentions nothing of the sort to suggest that I could be relocated.

    The concern I have here is that my contract was initialed by myself and centre manager on every page to say that we had discussed and were aware of everything on the document, however, I only initialed 12 of the 13 pages.

    The page I didn't initial just happens to be the section with the title 'relocation' so I argue, was I even shown this or made aware of the possibility we could be relocated?

    Colleagues have confirmed and shown me that their contracts actually have the clause properly written to say that the business can relocate you either temporarily or permanently and I don't see this as fair if they've had a better understanding of the possibility of relocating, whereas I could only base it on the words 'initially based' and told I agreed upon the relocation section when I haven't even initialed it.

    The business has said that the extra cost and negative ongoing financial strain of $500-$600 per month is something that I need to wear.

    After 13yrs in the business, they've basically said either accept the move or at least try it and if it doesn't work then you will have to resign.

    Any further thoughts appreciated.
     
  6. mxryda

    mxryda Active Member

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    Firstly thanks in advance for any replies that will be given.

    I posted previously about a work relocation that is taking place and as part of this, due to anxiety & stress issues I have requested for a Flexible Work Arrangement that would see me continue as a Full-Time worker but work extra hours each day that would then reduce my working days from 5 to 4 per week.

    Currently, I work extra hours to enable an RDO every fortnight so instead of this I would work a bit more and basically have 2 extra days in the month.

    This is to help reduce the financial stress ($500 extra per month) as a result of not being able to use public transport for separate anxiety issues that the workplace is aware of, meaning my only method is car, so increased petrol, tolls and parking and having to travel one day less a week is really going to help lower my stress and increase my productivity.

    I've put this request in writing and my understanding was I needed to have confirmation within 21 days of an answer, is this correct?

    My manager has told me that my request isn't unreasonable, however they won't be able to work it out properly until we move in 3 months time - I pointed out that others are trialing options for Flexible work and I was told this is for a different reason not due to the move, even though those people told me they were trialing it for the move.

    Where does this leave me? - I was told to get my request in early rather than later so they can work it out and now I'm being told otherwise.

    Thanks once again for any replies given, I appreciate your time...
     
  7. mxryda

    mxryda Active Member

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    To add to my above, FairWork have advised that they don't think I fall under a category to request a Flexible Work Arrangement.

    Isn't having a mental illness part of a disability? (both anxiety and huge added stress to the point where I need to request time off at times not because I see myself as sick, just because of my mental state)

    FairWork's example actually says "Anna has asked her employer if she can work from home because her disability makes it hard for her to travel to the office. She can request flexible working arrangements because her request relates to her disability."

    If they don't come back to me with a confirmation and as a result I choose not to relocate and they terminate my employment, can I take adverse action as my position is to my detriment?

    I don't really want to go down this path, I just want flexibility to give me a clearer mind in and out of work and much less stress to go and do my job.
     

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