Now that it looks like Brexit might be a real thing and not just a rearranging of the semantic deck chairs, there’s a spectre haunting The City: The spectre of Frankfurt. Because if we really are going to have a hard Brexit and the U.K. is going to toss itself off a cliff and out of the single market, some people are going to have to move across the Channel. But it looks like those people may have to be volunteers.
Under British law, an employer cannot force workers to move abroad without risking a breach of their contracts, giving staff the opportunity to claim constructive or wrongful dismissal.
Even those firms which have negotiated clauses theoretically allowing them to transfer staff to a location of their choice may find it hard to enforce such provisions at tribunals that handle employment disputes.
"Tribunals are very sensitive about whether it is reasonable to enforce these clauses on any employee because of their own circumstances. They may have children in schools, partners who work for other firms who might not be able to relocate," said Kevin McCavish, who heads the employment team at Shoosmiths law firm.