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Can the company change my place of work?

We are in a society of continuous change, and now more than ever, companies are in continuous movement and in different places. These changes and relocations affect workers; that is why at Forcam Abogados we want to make it clear to workers what their rights are when facing a change of location in the workplace.

We are going to explain to the worker what geographical mobility is, whether it is considered a transfer or a relocation.

What is considered geographical mobility for a worker?

In order to be considered as geographical mobility, the change of workplace must imply the need for the worker to change his/her habitual residence. It is a different matter if the worker decides to change his habitual residence, as this will not prejudice his rights.

The Courts consider geographical mobility when it implies a change of residence, but in addition the following factors have to be analysed:

Distance between the new work centre and the old one, whether or not it exceeds 30 kilometres.
Travel time to the work centre: analysing whether it is more or less than 25% of the working day.
Travel costs, to check if they are higher than 20% of the salary.
In short, in order to talk about geographical mobility, whether it is a transfer or a trip, it must involve a change of residence, either temporary or permanent. If this is not the case, the change of workplace can be considered to fall within the power of the company's organisation and, consequently, the worker cannot request the termination of the employment relationship. Furthermore, if it does not imply a change of residence, it is not considered to be a substantial modification of the working conditions either, except for a modification of the working day, hours or salary.

Is it considered a change of workplace if it is in the same city?

In this case it is not a geographical mobility, and as such, we cannot contest it through the special mobility challenge procedure.

For example, the Supreme Court ruling of 12 June 2016 states that: "The SC points out that in cases of transfer of the work centre without a change of address and respecting the category and functions, it is considered an accidental modification of the working conditions that falls within the organisational authority of the employer".

If I don't agree with the change of workplace, can I contest the company's decision?

Yes, we can go to court to show our disagreement with the company's decision. Furthermore, in this case the deadline will be one year. Our specialists in labour law recommend you to solve this situation as soon as possible, because, even if you decide not to go to court, you have the option to negotiate with the company to avoid the change, or in case it is made effective, that the salary increases considerably.

The employee can challenge the transfer in court. The complaint must be lodged within 20 working days of service. In any event, he will have to move to the new workplace and wait for the judgment to declare the transfer justified or not. If it is declared unjustified, the employee will have the right to return to his or her original workplace, and if the employer refuses to do so, he or she may request the termination of the contract with the right to compensation for unfair dismissal (45 days per year with a maximum of 42 monthly payments, up to 12/02/2012 and 33 days per year thereafter, with a maximum of 24 monthly payments).

In addition, in the event that it involves a change in working hours or salary, we may request that it be terminated, not because of geographical mobility, but because of a substantial change in working conditions.

Is a worker who agrees to move to another workplace entitled to compensation?

The worker who accepts the transfer measure is entitled to receive compensation for expenses, both for himself and for his dependents, under the terms that are agreed upon. The amount of this compensation may be agreed upon by the parties, but may not be less than the minimum set out in the implementing agreement.

We recommend that employees who are in a possible situation of relocation of their company seek advice from professionals so that they can clearly explain their rights before accepting the changes.

Contact us, and our lawyers specializing in labour law will study your specific case. 

At Forcam Abogados we have offices in Barcelona, Tarragona, Reus and Tarrega.