Did you know that Unfair Dismissal claims, account for more than one third of all disputes between Employers and Workers. The number of Unfair Dismissal claims lodge by Fair Work each year are well over 15,000 and these are only the ones that end up in Fair Work – Many more are settled at the workplace with very often a painful monetary aspect for the employer. There is no doubt that employees need to be protected from unscrupulous businesses that dismiss them unfairly, but the number of claims has blown out in recent years and has left organisations scared to terminate any workers employment.
The old adage ‘hire slow and fire fast’ definitely has some merit in that disruptive, lazy, unproductive workers and those with bad attitudes can be highly detrimental to a workplace. They can affect other workers demeanour, erode workplace culture, heighten disputes and spread malcontent through the ranks. These types of workers need to be let go, but within a process that is fair and equitable and will stand up to scrutiny.
Once you have made a decision to terminate a worker’s employment, make sure you have sound evidence of their wrongdoing and most importantly given the worker time to correct that issue.
There are really only four areas in which you can terminate a worker:
1. Capacity – this means the worker’s ability to complete the job. You would have to prove that the worker was incapable of satisfying the requirements of the role. If these reasons are due to disability or medical reasons, you need to seek expert advice.
2. Conduct – this means that the person’s conduct at work is lacking. It could include serious misconduct through to inappropriate conduct. The courts will look at the ways you managed this, including was the worker aware that this conduct was inappropriate (policies), did you train the worker in appropriate conduct, how did you communicate to the worker that this conduct was not appropriate and finally did you give the worker time to address their conduct issues.
3. Performance – this is often the most common reason for termination and it is important that you run a sound performance management procedure, giving the employee plenty of notice and an opportunity to improve their performance within a reasonable period of time. Documentation of diary notes, meetings and time periods are very important. Warnings both written and verbal need to be documented and tracked.
4. Genuine redundancy – this refers to the situation where the position is not going to continue and has no relevance on the performance or conduct of the employee. There are specific rules around genuine redundancy and severance pay may be an entitlement even for some small businesses under certain awards. Best to get expert advice from CIRCLE Recruitment & HR HR Management Solutions, in regards to the correct process to work through with redundancy.
Therefore we would like to change the old adage from ‘hire slow and fire fast’ to ‘hire slow, fire fast in your mind, but make sure you have the procedures and evidence to back up your action before you give that termination letter ’. Doesn’t run off the tongue so smooth, but may be much more valuable.
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