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Employee workplace change: what are the consequences?

Verified 13 January 2022 - Legal and Administrative Information Directorate (Prime Minister)

The employer can ask the employee to change the workplace. Prior approval of the employee may be required, in particular in the event of a change in the employment contract, the location of the new place of work or the status of the employee. Employee with representative functions in the company (protected employee) has special protection.

General case

Change of employee's location to another establishment of the company (transfer) may be provided in an establishment of the company in the same geographical area or not.

The extent of the employee's geographical area depends on the circumstances: it can extend, for example, to an entire region or a pool of jobs.

In the same geographical area

The deployment is considered to be a simple change in working conditions.

The employee must then accept the change in his or her workplace.

The employer must also explain its decision to the employee.

Outside the geographical area

The deployment is considered to be a modification of an element of the employment contract.

In this case, the employee's agreement is necessary.

However, employee approval is not required in the following cases:

In case of dispute, only judge may assess whether the proposed deployment corresponds to the geographical area of the employee.

The judge may rely on criteria such as:

  • Distance between establishments
  • Extension of travel time
  • Quality of public transportation to the new workplace

If the transfer is necessary for the employee

No changes to the employment contract are required.

The employee shall change places of work under the conditions laid down in the employment contract.

The refusal of the employee to change the workplace may justify a disciplinary sanction.

If the transfer requires prior employee approval

If the employee accepts the transfer, he or she changes places of work under the conditions laid down in the employment contract.

If the employee refuses the transfer, the employment relationship continues under the same conditions.

However, the employer may dismiss the employee if he or she has a reason other than the employee's refusal (e.g. economic reason).

Protected employee

Terms

Any proposal change a protected employee is a change to the employment contract.

It requires the employee's prior consent.

The employer cannot force a protected employee to change his or her workplace, regardless of the location.

A specific clause in the employment contract may provide, for example, that the employee works exclusively on a site.

In this case, any proposal for a geographical transfer constitutes an amendment to the employment contract which requires the prior agreement of the employee.

The employer cannot require the employee who has such a clause to change his place of work, regardless of his location.

Consequences on the employment contract

If the employee accepts the transfer, his employment contract must be subject to a attractive to the original employment contract.

If the employee refuses the transfer, the employment relationship continues under the same conditions.

However, the employer may dismiss the employee if he or she has a real and serious reason for not accepting the transfer.