M&S worker wins tribunal claim after refusing to relocate

A former Marks and Spencer (M&S) employee has won a claim of constructive dismissal against the retailer after he resigned due to being forced to move to a different store.

William Carswell worked at an M&S store in Barrow for 15 years before it closed down.

A new store opened in Ulverston, and staff were offered the choice of relocation there or voluntary redundancy.

Carswell initially chose redundancy due to his anxiety of travelling on public transport, however as M&S found more hours for working at the Ulverston store, it then told workers they had to relocate.

Carswell was invited to a disciplinary hearing where he was told dismissal was an option.

He resigned before the hearing, stating he had been left with no choice but to consider himself constructively dismissed.

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Constructive dismissal constitutes an employer committing a serious breach of contract which entitles the employee to resign.

Despite M&S arguing that Carswell had unreasonably refused an offer of suitable employment, Carswell was successful in his claim of wrongful and constructive dismissal and the retailer was ordered to pay him for his notice period.

Liz Ord, employment judge presiding over the case, said that Carswell's mental health and safety concerns superseded any mobility clause he had in his contract.

She said: "Although the claimant had a contractual mobility clause requiring him to move to another store if required, in his particular circumstances, with his mental health condition and the safety concerns, it was not feasible for him to do so. Consequently, enforcing the mobility clause was completely unreasonable.

"Accordingly, the respondent had no reasonable and proper cause for enforcing the mobility clause. He did not affirm the contract and resigned without delay in response to the breach. Consequently, his claim for constructive dismissal is well-founded and succeeds."