Top 5 Tips to Assist With Terminating Employment
The majority of claims against employers arise at the time of termination of employment.
Here are 5 tips to help you navigate the termination process.
- Know the terms and conditions that apply to the employee: Review applicable contracts, awards and enterprise agreement as well as any relevant policies. Sometimes employees have special conditions you don’t know about. Double check this before you start.
- Follow applicable processes: Contracts, EBAs and company policies often set out the way a disciplinary, misconduct or redundancy process must be conducted. Failing to comply may impact the lawfulness of the termination. Again, it's best to check these processes before you start and make sure you comply with them.
- Understand the reason for the termination: Where the employee can access the unfair dismissal provisions it is particularly important that the employer has a sound and defensible reason for the termination. But even where the employee can't access the unfair dismissal provision, it is important to have a clear sense of the reason for the termination so you are in a position to defend any claim that the termination is for a discriminatory or prohibited reason.
- Ensure procedural fairness: whatever the reason for termination, it is important that employees are given an opportunity to respond. This might take the form of a right of reply in a disciplinary process or a consultation process in circumstances of redundancy Ultimately, it is better to hear what the employee has to say and consider it prior to the termination than to only hear about it after proceedings are issued.
- Make sure final payments are correct: Once the termination is effected make sure you have properly calculated an employee's termination payment including where applicable the pay out of unused annual leave, long service leave, RDOs and severance pay. If something doesn't look right, check it with payroll.
A planned and measured approach throughout the termination process is the best way to minimise a legal claim.