Get access to the exclusive HR Resources you need to succeed in 2018.
Sign up for free email newsletters and get more SHRM content delivered to your inbox.
Is your employee handbook keeping up with the changing world of work? With SHRM's Employee Handbook Builder get peace of mind that your handbook is up-to-date.
Build competencies, establish credibility and advance your career—while earning PDCs—at SHRM Seminars in 14 cities across the U.S. this fall.
Gain the skills you need to rise to the next level in your career. Jon us at SHRM's Leadership Development Forum, October 2-3 in Boston.
Members may download one copy of our sample forms and templates for your personal use within your organization. Please note that all such forms and policies should be reviewed by your legal counsel for compliance with applicable law, and should be modified to suit your organization’s culture, industry, and practices. Neither members nor non-members may reproduce such samples in any other way (e.g., to republish in a book or use for a commercial purpose) without SHRM’s permission. To request permission for specific items, click on the “reuse permissions” button on the page where you find the item.
Alan I. Model, principal at the law firm of Grotta, Glassman & Hoffman PA in Roseland, N.J., points out that airtight relocation policies can protect an employer from charges leveled by disappointed transferees, as well as by those who feel slighted by not being offered a new opportunity elsewhere.
“Employers need to clearly define who will be relocated, based on objective criteria laid out in their policies,” he says.
Companies that tend to offer relocation opportunities only to staff who are single or to those who have weathered previous transfers, “may be open to charges of discrimination,” Model says. “You have to test your policies on several levels to ensure they are not having a discriminatory impact by eliminating categories of employees due to marital status, age, etc. It’s called a ‘disparate impact,’ and you have to think through all the possible biases that people could claim.”
Model also suggests putting a provision in the relocation agreement itself stating that any disputes will be subject to arbitration. “This can keep you out of court in most states,” he says. Even in places like California, which is hostile to arbitration, “It is possible to draft good language, with certain buzz phrases, that can make arbitration binding.”
It’s also a good idea to include language that defines which jurisdiction’s laws will be applied in case of problems.
Employers might consider adding a “payback” clause to a relocation agreement, in which the employee agrees to reimburse some of the moving costs if she or he leaves the employer within a specified period of time. Conversely, an employer could offer the transferee an employment contract for the same period of time.
“HR people are sometimes hesitant to require employees to sign agreements, but in this area it’s especially prudent to do so,” says Model. “It reduces the potential for legal exposure, and also makes the relocation smoother for the employee. There’s no question about expectations, and nothing for the employer to hide. You can handle these things in a nice, well-drafted agreement that will serve neatly as your defense, if necessary.”
You have successfully saved this page as a bookmark.
Please confirm that you want to proceed with deleting bookmark.
You have successfully removed bookmark.
Please log in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please sign in as a SHRM member before saving bookmarks.
Please purchase a SHRM membership before saving bookmarks.
An error has occurred
Recommended for you
Join SHRM's exclusive peer-to-peer social network
SHRM’s HR Vendor Directory contains over 10,000 companies