As an employer, there are a lot of things to think about to ensure you don’t inadvertently get into legal trouble. Things like unfair dismissal claims can come back to haunt you, causing significant financial pain and, in some cases, damage to your reputation. Because of this, it’s very important to make sure you understand what legal hoops you need to jump through in specific situations.
In the rest of this article, we’ve explored our top five tips for firing someone without the risk of an unfair dismissal claim being brought against you. Remember, though, that this is only meant as advice, and you should always seek the opinion of a qualified workplace or employment lawyer to ensure you’re following the rules.
- Follow Up on Misconduct or Other Allegations Properly
If you’re considering firing an employee because of misconduct or other allegations against them, it’s extremely important to make sure you follow up on said accusations properly. Outline the things that have been said to the employee, and give them a chance to tell their side of the story. Failing to do so could land you in hot water, especially if the allegations are later found to be false.
- Follow the Correct Rules
The correct period of notice needs to be given in all but the most serious cases. Even if you’re firing someone because of misconduct or poor performance, you will still have to give them the minimum required notice outlined in their contract and/or the Fair Work Act.
The only cases where notice doesn’t need to be given is if an employee is involved in a serious indiscretion such as violence, theft, fraud and/or serious workplace law breaches.
- Make Sure Employees Are Given a Chance to Rectify Any Issues
Many unfair dismissal claims arise because employees feel they’ve been unfairly fired without being given a chance to resolve any problems. If you’re planning to let an employee go because of performance or behaviour-related problems, make sure that they’re aware of them and given the chance to rectify them.
- Be Friendly
People lose their jobs. It’s not always nice, but it’s just something that happens. However, there’s no need to be mean or unpleasant when you’re terminating an employment contract. Ending a working relationship on good terms will significantly reduce the risk of unfair dismissal claims being brought against you.
- Make Sure You Discuss the Dismissal First
It’s important to both discuss an impending dismissal with the employee in questions and to allow them to bring a support person to said discussions. This is especially important if the termination is related to misconduct or performance issues.
Ultimately, Australia’s unfair dismissal laws are well-written and provide adequate protection for employers and employees alike. If you follow the rules and make sure you do the right thing when terminating an employment contract, you will be fine. If you don’t, you may be subject to unfair dismissal claims, which can result in significant penalties.