Can a company deny promotion opportunities to its employees if they are not willing to relocate?

UPDATED: Jul 8, 2012

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UPDATED: Jul 8, 2012Fact Checked

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Can a company deny promotion opportunities to its employees if they are not willing to relocate?

The company will not consider an employee for promotion into fulltime management unless the employee answers “yes” to the question “Are you willing to relocate?” The problem is, the company never relocates lower level management, and rarely relocates middle management. All positions are local. There are some business units that don’t ask the relocation question until an employee is considered for upper mgmt; so the relocation policy is not administered equally throughout the company. There are employees who answer “yes”, get promoted, then change their status to “not willing to relocate”.

Asked on July 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Kentucky


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, an employer may do this. Employers are not required to ever promote anyone--it is  purely voluntary on the company's part whether to promote or otherwise offer a career track. Since it is voluntary, the employer may put restrictions or requirements on it, such as answering "yes" to whether the employee would be willing to promote.

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