Operating a business requires a huge commitment from business owners both to the future success of their company and to the well-being of their staff. To ensure that your business continues to thrive moving forward, you need to ensure that your staff are motivated, productive and believe in the mission of your company. Unfair treatment of your staff, even in the case of a dismissal, can wreak havoc on your business and cause chaos within your company.
To avoid an unfair dismissal in Melbourne, business owners need to ensure they follow the correct protocols when letting employees go. An unfair dismissal claim could tarnish the reputation of your business, result in low staff morale and poor relations with the business community in your area going forward. You can be held liable under the Fair Work Act if an employees dismissal is determined to be “harsh, unjust or unreasonable” by the Fair Work Commission. This can be a stressful situation for business owners that can cause irreparable damage to your business, but with the right approach, you can avoid arriving at this unfortunate juncture.
Let’s explore a few ways that you can reduce your risk of facing an unfair dismissal claim in your business.
Don’t Rush A Dismissal
Although you don’t have any legal obligation to issue your employees with any number of warnings before you dismiss them, you need to be careful about how quickly you dismiss your employee. Firing them on the spot, for example, is never advised, as, from a legal standpoint, there are very few times where this is allowed. However, if there is sufficient evidence that the employee has broken the law while at work or has broken your safety protocols, you may be within your rights to dismiss them there and then but tread carefully.
Work With Them
As an employer, it is your job to inform underperforming or uncooperative staff members as to where they are going wrong and what they can do to improve. Failing to offer guidance and an opportunity to improve could be seen to be an unfair dismissal. Meet with the employee in question and outline what the issues are and put a plan in place to help them to reach their work goals. You should meet again in time to review their progress before moving forward with the dismissal. Should there be an unfair dismissal case, the favour will be with you at trial, as you will have offered a solution to the problem and a roadmap to improvement for your employee.
Hear Their Side
If you have any allegations to bring against an employee, whether it is regarding underperformance or misconduct, you need to allow them to respond to the allegations. While this is certainly a fair way to approach the situation, it is also legally required that you take this approach. You are obligated to clearly outline the allegations and communicate them clearly to the employee in writing. They need to be given an opportunity to consider the allegations before you meet with them to discuss the issues. You must give their response genuine consideration or you could end up facing an unfair dismissal trial down the line.
Ensure You Avoid An Unfair Dismissal Case
Employees are dismissed for a variety of reasons and you are completely within your rights as a business owner to dismiss employees who are not performing well, who breach safety protocols or who do not behave appropriately in the workplace. However, before you dismiss an employee, you must take the time to ensure you have not given cause for unfair dismissal. Treating your employees with respect and compassion, even in a dismissal, will ensure your business avoids being hit with an unfair dismissal claim in the future.