My practice is opening up a new location almost 45 minutes away from its present office. I am an employee and haven’t spoken to the partners – but can they make me work in the other office?
Thanks, Dr. S
Can you be "required" to go to a specific location? Meaning, at the end of the day can the practice request a court order to force you to commute? Probably not, however, depending on the language of your employment agreement, you may technically be contractually required to practice in the new location. Meaning, refusing to go to the new location may put you in default of your contract.
While every contract is worded differently, most employment agreements (assuming you have one) include a term that covers the location you will be working at. Oftentimes this provision is skipped over by you and/or a reviewing attorney and viewed as less important than your compensation or restriction covenants in the employment agreement. The "location" provision frequently reads as requiring the employee to provide services at the practice's "locations," “offices,” or “practice sites”, which would, as drafted, include any new office locations that may be opened. Of course it is possible that your contract states you are only required to work at the address you report to, which is what we recommend when reviewing. The only way to know for sure if you have a contractual obligation to go to the new location is by looking at your contract. The best course of action would be to figure out your obligations under your contract before speaking to the partners. However a discussion should take place where your expectations regarding the new location are defined – and any agreement between you and the partners where you are not responsible for the new location should be documented in writing, even if the best you can get is a confirming email.
For additional information on this topic, contact Jennifer Kirschenbaum at (516)-747-6700 ext. 302 or at Jennifer@Kirschenbaumesq.com.
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