Changing an employee’s workplace location is a highly controversial issue in the implementation of Labor Law.
Main issues related to matter are whether;
- Employees are obliged to accept the change?
- Or can terminate their employment contract for just cause?
- Employer can dismiss the employee who doesn’t accept the change?
- What kind of changes should be considered a substantial change?
- Under which conditions a ground for termination with just cause is occur?
From the point of Labor Law
Changing an employee’s workplace is considered as a substantia change in working conditions and terms of employment, and should be implemented in line with article 22 of Labor Law 4857 as shown below;
- Employer who want to make a substantial changes (workplace change is one of them only) in working conditions based on the employment contract he must give a written notification to the employee
- Change should be accepted by employee in written form within 6 workdays following the employer's notification.
- Changes that are not in conformity with this procedure and not accepted by the employee in written form within six working days shall not bind the employee.
- In case of employee’s not accepting the offer for change within this period, the employer may terminate the employment contract by respecting the term of notice, provided that he indicates in written form that the proposed change is based on a valid reason or there is another valid reason for termination.
- Employee’s rights to claim compensation or file a reemployment lawsuit are reserved.
Are Employees obliged to accept the change?
In general, employer cannot force the employees to accept the workplace change, and in case the change is against goodwill (workplace change as a punishment, etc.) or the change is considered as a substantia change employee may terminate the contract with just cause.
- In case the change of workplace location is not considered as asubstantia change
- If the change is in favor of employee (workplace coming nearer to employee’s residence) employee is bound to accept the changes.
- In case there is a clause in the employment contract stating that “employee is to work in every region in Turkey”, employee considered as accepted the workplace change in advance. Most companies that have branches all over the country include this clause in the employment contracts.
Importance of Employer’s good will
As it is stated above, if the employee doesn’t accept the offer for change within 6 days, the employer may terminate the employment contract by respecting the term of notice, provided that he indicates in written form that the proposed change is based on a valid reason or there is another valid reason for termination.
In case of having the clause “employee may be required to work all over the country” in the contract, employee will have to accept the workplace change; otherwise employer may terminate the employment contract with valid reason.
The other requirement for terminating with valid reason, the workplace change should be necessary, i.e. not for forcing the employee to resign.
In practice if the workplace moves to not so far location the change wouldn’t be considered as substantial.
What kind of changes should be considered a substantial change?
In legislation, the changes that are deemed substantial are not specified; and the conflicts between the parties are mostly solved by labor courts.