Forced to cover a job which involves overnight stays

My base office on my contract is about one hour’s drive from my house. My work is mobile which is fine. However, due to someone in my team leaving I have been temporarily covering their area which is a four-hour drive from home for the last few months and have had to stay away every week for two to three nights a week. I have just been told that the role is not being replaced so I have to remain covering it going forward. Can they do that, effectively forcing me to live away from home every week? As I do most of my travelling outside of my working hours plus due to workload I’m doing in excess of a 60-hour week and I’m exhausted. I have three children and a partner with mental health problems and have been forced to look for another job as a result, but they are saying I have to serve my three-month notice period. Do they have a right to do this? I am extremely stressed.

I would recommend putting in a grievance with the company, while you work your notice. You could also see your GP about being signed unfit for work with stress.  The grievance would be for an unfair change of workplace without correct consultation. It would depend what your contract says for the place of work, but I would say that four hours travel is highly unreasonable.

I would want to know whether, if you need to cover this role what is happening to your role? I would say it sounds like you have a case here and would consult with ACAS.

The only thing to be aware of is the change can now be seen as an implied term as you have been doing this for so long, but as it wasn’t agreed to as a long-term change you could have a case.

If you break your notice period by refusing to work it there isn’t really anything the company can do. It’s not ideal, but if that is the last resort and you feel you must take the new opportunity then legally nothing can be done for refusing to work the notice. As references are so generic nowadays too it shouldn’t be listed on there. You should just make the new company aware that you are having to break the three-month notice period.

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