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  • Employee Refusal To Transfer

    We hired a new employee about a month ago, and recently found out that do to an oversight on our part we could not keep him at his current location. We offered to transfer him to the same position in a location about 2 miles down the road, and does not want to take the job. I have been asked to draft a termination letter stating that the reason why he is being terminated is due to his refusal to transfer. Is this necessary, or can I just use our generic termination letter? Are there other legal issues or employment law issues that I should be aware of?

  • #2
    Two miles? Sheesh. Hope he knows that refusal will very likely result in his not getting UI benefits.

    If you're going a do a letter anyway, I would put that reason in there. His position is going to be eliminated; you offered to keep him employed; he refused. I don't see any legal problems here.
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    • #3
      I agree with Patty except one thing: I would not use the term "eliminated." I wouldn't even say that he was being offered the same position at another loaction. I would simply tell him and the unemployment board that HIS position must be transferred to a location 2 miles away.

      As I see it, the only way he could refuse this transfer and still get unemployment is if not accepting this transfer has something to do with the 2 miles itself. For instance, is the other location within walking distance from his home, and he cannot legally obtain a driver's license, like a vision problem. But even still, Patty is right, he nearly completely ruins his chances of winning unemployment if he refuses to go 2 miles down the road.

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      • #4
        Termination Notification

        What is the correct protocol for notifying this employee of his termination? Do I as the employer have to formerly write a termination notice, explaining the reason for termination and have the employee sign it? Is there a time frame for which this has to be done? Do I have to do this at all, what am I legally responsible for?

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        • #5
          All you need to do, legally, is inform him that his services are no longer required and provide him with the information on how to apply for unemployment. (This is a requirement in MA - it does not necessarily mean that UI will be granted.) The law does not require that you put it in writing or that you give him a reason for the termination.

          However, I would suggest that you do both; give him a written letter that due to his unwillingness to transfer has resulted in his employment being terminated.

          I don't know where in MA you are but even if you are out in the wilds of the Berkshires I can't see a two-mile transfer as being a sufficient reason to refuse a transfer and still receive benefits. But for purposes of a potential UI claim, it will benefit you to have spelled out for him precisely why his employment is being terminated.
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            is there a number of miles set by law for transfer?

            Is there a number of miles set by law for transfer? Obviously the two miles this guy was unwilling to do is a bit ridiculous to refuse. Is there a standard mileage set by law that an employee could refuse without penalty?

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            • #7
              No, it's very situation specific. It won't even necessarily be the same in different parts of the same state; in my part of the state, driving an hour and a half to get to work is quite common, whereas in the Western part of the state that might be unreasonable.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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              • #8
                With all of the mergers and acquisitions going on these days and so many offices being relocated, I had thought there was something about so much mileage above and beyond an employees typical commute prior to the relocation. In a situation at a company I worked for, a company we purchased with a small office in Nashua with about a dozen employees in it had to remain because the nearest office of the acquiring company was too great to expect the employees to commute. Maybe that was under NH law. I can certainly understand that different areas in the state would make a set standard difficult in simply mileage, but what about mileage in addition to?

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                • #9
                  That's actually what I'm saying. But an average commute is going to vary not just within a state, but within different parts of a state.

                  I very much doubt that any state has a hard and fast "30 miles the employee doesn't get benefits, 31 miles they do" across the board requirement.
                  The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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