One of the most important aspects to being an employer is knowing the intricacies of dismissals, and more particularly, when there are fair reasons for dismissal. There are many government regulations around dismissal, and as outlined in the Fair Work Act 2009, it is not appropriate for employers to dismiss employees based on their own unsubstantiated discretion. Hence, it is important that you understand exactly when it is appropriate to dismiss an employee.
As you would expect, employers cannot dismiss their employees without the appropriate grounds to do so. In a lot of instances, say if an employee behaves badly, you may be tempted to end employment contracts simply as a reaction to the event. However, as stated by the law, you cannot dismiss any employee without a valid, sound, and defensible reason. These reasons are varied and come under four key areas:
Regardless of which area the reason for the dismissal may fall under, you need to follow fair and transparent procedures for dismissal. This means that you must adhere to the processes outlined and described in the employee handbook or employment contract.
In order to be compliant with these procedures, you must tell the employee in writing about the allegations against them, and give an opportunity to respond. As Australian workplaces operate under a structure of fairness and equal opportunity, it is only right that employees who are to be dismissed have the chance to defend their case.
It is important to follow these guidelines and make sure that you are only dismissing employees on fair grounds. If you do not follow good practice as outlined above, you may be running the risk that the employee you are trying to dismiss runs a claim for unfair dismissal. To avoid coming into any issues with dismissing employees, make sure that you seek advice in advance of taking any action.