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Hello,

I work as Manufacturing Engineer based in Oakville Ontario. My company is going through a program retiming which means that there is no real work for us at this time (and for the next year and a half).
As such, I’ve been requested to take on a job in Dearborn Michigan and to work at one of the plants there (4-hour drive away) for the next 12 months. This means that I would have to travel every week and be away from my family during this period and be able to come home only on weekends and holidays.
Is this not a form of relocation and can be grounds for constructive dismissal?
Given the situation, I can agree to a temporary job assignment based in a different location for a specified time period but I do not want to commit to anything beyond the agreed duration.
I don’t believe I have a relocation clause in my current permanent employment. While I can accept a temporary change in my work location, I want to be able to maintain my rights and to be able to refuse if in the future I’d be asked to continued to work away from my base.
Can you please provide some advice on what I should seek from my employer before agreeing to any assignment.

Thank you.

Hello,

You are right that being asked to work in a different location, in a different country, which would require you to be away from home during the workweek would likely amount to a constructive dismissal. As in all constructive dismissal cases, you now have two choices. You can refuse the reassignment, in which case the employer may terminate you due to lack of work, and you would be owed your full severance. Or you can accept the change, in which case it may become difficult to go back to the way things were in the future.

You seem to be interested in working with your employer to find a mutually-agreeable solution whereby you would accept the relocated job for a period of time. If such is the case, then the first step would be to have an open and frank discussion with your employer where you would present your conditions for accepting the relocation. If you can come to terms with your employer, it would be important that you have written confirmation of the terms, even if it is just an email.

Also keep in mind that your taxes will likely be more complicated if you are working in one country but live in the other. You may want to ask for additional compensation to help pay for your tax returns. You may also have to rent a place to live at your new location, and may have to break the lease unexpectedly if you are recalled back home. You want to ensure that such expenses, as well as moving expenses are covered by the employer. Your employer should also pay for you to obtain authorization to work in the United States.

If you would like us to draft a more formal document that takes into account all the factors, we would be happy to assist once you have confirmed that your employer is willing to engage in such discussions.

Regards,

Lluc Cerda
Lawyer
The Lawyers at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP
Direct Tel (Toll Free): 1-855-821-5900     Email: webquestions@stlawyers.ca     Web: www.stlawyers.ca
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