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True or false when firing employees

TerminationApril 7, 2016

True or false when firing employees (Last Updated On: August 9, 2016)

As an employer, sometimes you can be faced with the tough decision to let a staff member go. Terminating an employee can be tricky, but what constitutes a valid reason for firing?

True or false: three strikes and you are out

False.

Many employers may be under the illusion that if they give their employee three warnings, they are within their right to fire them. However, employers need to ensure they follow a correct process, as there is no legislative requirement or statement to suggest three warnings is required.

As mentioned, employers do need to follow the correct procedure when giving warnings to their staff. You must ensure:

  • the employee is aware it is an official warning and is clear about the reason for the warning
  • clear and specific details about the employee’s incorrect behaviour, conduct or performance is clearly communicated
  • the warning is fair and reasonable for the specific circumstances

True or false: I can fire an employee just because I do not like them

False.

An employee can only be terminated if there is a valid reason for doing so. This reason can relate to the employee’s capacity, conduct and performance or can be a genuine redundancy, but it cannot be based on your personal opinion of your employee.

When thinking of terminating an employee, you need to ensure you have followed a correct and fair process. The employee must fully understand the reason behind the termination and you, as an employer, must understand the rights of your employee or risk an unfair dismissal claim. An unfair dismissal is when an employee is dismissed from their position in a harsh, unjust or unreasonable manner.

 True or false: I can terminate my employee because she is pregnant 

False.

An employee cannot be discriminated against because she is pregnant. This means an employee cannot be fired, demoted or in any way treated differently. When an employee becomes pregnant, employers need to ensure they have the correct policies and procedures in place to protect the employee from discrimination. It is also unlawful to discriminate against a potential employee if they are pregnant.

Employsure knows terminating an employee is never an easy process. If faced with a situation that may require an employee to be terminated, employers must first ensure they:

  • conduct an investigation into the employee’s conduct
  • invite the employee to a meeting to discuss concerns, and opportunities to improve. The employee has the option to bring a support person to this meeting if required
  • clearly identify the employee’s wrongdoings and when the incident/s occurred. Present any evidence gathered
  • provide the employee with plenty of opportunity to respond
  • document the meeting minutes

Employers should always seek advice before terminating an employee. Employsure can assist you with any questions you might have, and can guide you through the termination process. Call our specialist team today on 1300 651 415.

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