Corporate Relocations and Employee Rights
Employee rights laws exist to protect workers from being taken advantage of or mistreated while on the job. These rights continue to apply to your employees even as you are preparing to move your company to another state or another country. When you want to relocate your business without harming the relationship you have with your staff, it is crucial that you understand to what rights they are entitled. Abiding by these laws will allow you to relocate without incurring penalties or fines that could compromise your successful start in your new location.
Employment At Will Status
Every state has laws on the books when it comes to whether or not people and businesses have at-will employment privileges. These laws come into play more significantly when you plan to move your company to a state that has different at-will employment mandates than where your company is located now.
If you currently do business in a state that says workers are employed at-will, you must abide by that law even as you prepare to move your business and your workers to state that has less stringent at-will employment restrictions. In fact, you may be prohibited from firing an employee who transfers with your company for a certain amount of time without due cause. This person could argue in court that he or she upheld the expectation of moving with the business and keeping the same position. In this instance, your prior state's at-will laws could be used in court to force you to keep the employee on staff. Knowing to what extent at-will laws will affect your relocation can help you avoid staffing headaches and possible legal action against you in court.
Federal law also mandates that you give your employees reasonable time to prepare for a move. Reasonable time laws are designed to prevent workers from experiencing undue hardships.
Reasonable time provides workers the right to look for new employment. Reasonable time is generally defined as a 30-day written notice, although some unions may have laws in place that require you to give a 60 or 90-day written notice. This notice also helps workers prepare financially so that the move has little effect on their family's budgets.
Employees additionally have the right to know what you expect of them after they relocate with your company. If they will be employed in the same capacity, doing the same jobs and carrying out the same duties for you, they should know about this expectation prior to moving to a new state or country.
Likewise, if you expect them to take on a different role in the company or train to learn new skills, you must advise them of this fact as well. Providing your team with your expectations of them will allow them to prepare for their upcoming duties within your company or make the decision to seek new employment elsewhere.
Your business' relocation affects more than just you and your profits. It also affects those people working for you. You can help them adjust to the move by observing rights to which they are legally entitled. Before you move your company, you can avoid complications by abiding by these employee rights.