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Does Your Employer Have a Right the Tell You Where to Live?

Do you work for an employer that is not located in the community in which you live? Do you commute several hours each day to work or stay overnight during the week to accommodate your commute and return home when your work week is complete? Do you work outside of the state in which you live?

If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you might be concerned whether or not your employer can let you go based on your location. If you interview for a job that is a significant distance from your home, you might wonder if they can refuse to hire you based on your location.

The simple answer to these questions is yes, your employer can making hiring and firing decisions based on where you live. Some employers view potential employees with a long commute as risky. Government employers might also require employees live within the city or county in which they work. As long as an employer’s reason for firing or not hiring you does not fall into a protected category, they have a right to let you go.

If you believe your job might be in jeopardy because of where you live or you are applying for a job with a long-distance commute, consider the following:

Will your commute interfere with your ability to work?

If a long commute means you will be tired by the time you arrive at work or you will not be available to stay longer when needed, it could affect your employment. If you are unable to perform your assigned job duties, your employer has a right to terminate employment.

Does the employer require you to be active in the community?

Depending on your circumstances, part of your job description might entail attendance or participation at community events. Are you willing to commute to the area during non-traditional working hours? You must be able to fulfill your job obligations.

Will you be “on-call”?

Does your job require you be able to arrive within a certain time under emergency circumstances? Health professions and a variety of other types of employment feature scenarios in which an employee’s ability to arrive on the scene is time sensitive.

Is there anything in your life that could create hardship because of the commute?

Employers are not permitted to let employees go because they are experiencing certain hardships, dealing with medical issues related to themselves or family, or acting as a whistleblower and reporting illegal activity. If you fall into any of these categories, but your employer is claiming they are letting your go because of the distance you live from the company, it might be an excuse. You should speak to an employment law attorney to determine if you have a valid complaint.

If you would like to know more about your rights as an employee or you have questions about your specific situation, contact Borrelli & Associates, P.L.L.C. to schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.

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