Delay in reporting at specified place of work

Hi, there is a case where a senior employee was given the option to work from home initially upon joining the company and provide services remotely with the understanding that he will relocate after 3 months to the actual job location outside his state of residence. Later, the employee cited one personal reason after another for not relocating as agreed upon (including family being infected with COVID-19) and had not shown any indication to report at the agreed location even after 5 months of joining. He was last issued a communication that the Company will be unable to wait any longer and that he needed to report at the location within 15 days failing which the contract would stand terminated. To this, the employee has replied stating that the Company needs to serve him the 2 months’ notice period as per appointment terms with still no indication of his relocation date.

My question is, can the Company which has paid him full salary for an additional 2 months after the agreed date of relocation, take a legal stand and terminate the senior employee with immediate effect for failure to relocate even after the last communication? If the job location in the contract agreement was mentioned, will that be sufficient to terminate the employee without notice if he has not reported at the location?

Any views on what suitable action can be taken by the Company in this scenario will be helpful.

Thank you and Regards

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Not sure why the organization insists on relocation. It could be because of corporate policy, poor performance, or a serious business requirement. However, it is all up to the decision of the management. If the employee is contributing and work is not affected, probably, try to save this resource by convincing him/her about the benefits of working in a particular location. Also, try to persuade by establishing a better rapport.

Assumptions: Employee is not pregnant, not differentially abled, and not a trade union member.

How safe is the termination depends on the appointment order and clauses to support such an action.

  1. If there is an explicit clause that demands an employee to relocate to a particular physical work location, the employee is supposed to do. Whether the company shall show a lenient approach (on medical grounds or not) is a pure management call.
  2. If the employee is not listening to the manager / HR and is unwilling to report for work in the designated location. such action is fair enough to initiate disciplinary proceedings; show-cause notice and the next subsequent steps. Probably your legal advisor takes care of this.
  3. By following Conduct Discipline and Appeal (CDA)rules of the organization, the organization can terminate an employee from services.
  4. If disciplinary procedures and protocols are not mentioned in the employee handbook or standing orders or CDA rules, it is risky to terminate services. So on the safer side, suggest settling by paying all dues including notice pay.

The job location clause is sufficient for you to proceed with disciplinary action.
Thank you