Wednesday, 20 May 2015

You’re Fired!: How Employers Can Protect Themselves from Claims of Unfair Dismissal

Employment law in Australia provides workers with strong protections, which is good news for those on the labour end. But many employers have found that ridding themselves of workers whose performance is less than ideal can be surprisingly difficult. Glenn Duker, solicitor and lawyer, looks at some things bosses can do to protect themselves from costly cases of unfair dismissal. 

Follow due process

It’s the fourth time this week that your employee is late for work, and you’ve had enough – they’re fired! But first, there are some things you need to consider: has the worker been previously warned about this behaviour? Is lateness documented in your workplace policy as a serious offence? It’s understandable that it’s irksome and affects productivity, but unfortunately that in itself isn’t enough to warrant an instant dismissal – such an outcome is something that has to be built up to over time, and with stringent documentation.

Communication and documentation

That brings us to the next point. Perhaps you’re unhappy with your employee’s performance – but if you haven’t actually made that clear to them, it’s not grounds for dismissal. After all, workers don’t have a chance to change a practice or behaviour if they don’t know there’s a problem. If you have a complaint against an employee – especially if you feel it may impact on the safety of their job – you need to let them know exactly what the problem is and how you want them to address it. You must also keep records of any such conversations that have taken place between you, and of the results.

Have a social media policy

In these days of social media and constant over-share, things may be said by employees that don’t gibe with the values of their workplace – or they might even make direct comments about their bosses or workmates. However, if you haven’t addressed social media usage in your workplace policy, it’s possible that there’s not a lot you can do about it. Many businesses overlook the implications of social media, but in today’s technologically advanced society, this can be a mistake.

Employment law is an area that can be controversial and tricky to navigate. If you find yourself in strife with an employee, Glenn Duker, lawyer and solicitor, has the experience in this complex area to help.

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