'John, We Need You In Frankfurt Instead Of Zürich For A Couple Of Months' - How Do Dislocation Clauses Work In Switzerland?


An employment agreement must define the main working conditions, amongst others the employee's job portfolio, his or her salary including any other financial incentives, the working hours, the treatment of overtime work, holidays etc. Whilst these cornerstones of an employment contract are usually paid much attention, another important element of the working relationship is quite often less considered: i.e. the place (or places) where an employee shall perform his or her work.

Not considering the employee's actual work place and any potential work places in the future may turn out to be problematic when a dispute arises, since the place of work at the time of a dispute quite often determines the judicial forum, and according to international private laws of Switzerland and of most other European countries, the place of work determines the applicable employment laws as well, even if the parties to a work contract have made a choice in favor of particular employment laws.

"One approach to prevent difficulties in renegotiating a work contract is to allow the employer in advance to change or extend the employee's work place."

To the extent that the work contract parties have agreed on one (or more) places of work, a substantial change in such work place(s) requires a change and/or amendment of the work contract, whilst minor changes to the work place(s) remain subject to the employer's imminent instructional rights.

If the work contract parties cannot agree on a such change in the work, the employer must terminate the employment contract by means of a termination notice combined with an offer to conclude a new employment contract with the modified work of place. If the employee accepts such contract offer, the employment contract continues with the changed place of work. Otherwise, the employment relationship is terminated.


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