When you terminate staff for any reason, whether it’s for poor performance, poor attendance or having a bad attitude, it’s absolutely essential to have a clear and detailed policy. Whether you’re firing an employee or making them redundant, employers must follow the processes stipulated by the Fair Work Act to avoid an unfair dismissal or unlawful termination claim. This is the only sure way you will manage the termination process correctly and be assured of being legally compliant.
Termination can be a complex and stressful process and may involve dismissal, resignation or redundancy, and as an employer you should understand its obligations under the employee’s employment contract, award and law. As termination is a significant decision that carries legal risks and can take a significant amount of time, resources and effort, it is recommended that you seek legal advice if there is anything you are unsure of.
What considerations and processes should your policy include?
Consider termination issues before the employee starts work. Carefully draft the employment contract referring to the termination of employment provisions. At the very least state the agreed period of notice by each party.
Have clear, unambiguous written policies covering a wide range of relevant workplace issues. These include probation periods, conduct in the workplace, workplace safety, sexual harassment, dress requirements, use of email, use of employer’s property, attendance/timekeeping termination procedures.
Ensure these policies flag any misconduct that would be a serious breach of the employment contract. For example, this could include theft, poor performance, or insubordination.