If you've decided to make a tough decision to let an employee go for any reason, you'll want to ensure that you protect yourself from any potential legal battles that may ensue. This may even include a Fair Work audit of your business if a claim of unfair dismissal is made against you. Work closely with your business attorney experienced in commercial law and follow these effective tactics to protect yourself from all legal eventualities when terminating the services of an employee.
Always Have A Written Contract Of Employment
An employment contract is a vital document that all employers must have, as it details out the terms of employment in greater detail. As a general rule, more detail with respect to employment terms means more protection for you as an employer, especially if you're able to prove that your employee violated the terms of the agreement. In the absence of a written contract of employment, your employee can raise a range of issues pertaining to the dismissal. Make sure the employee signs the contract, which indicates that he or she agrees to the terms and conditions laid out in it.
Make Sure You Have Gone Through A Proper Performance Review/Warning Process
Keep in mind that simply dismissing an employee without any proper performance review or warning process can get you into trouble, so make sure you have a proper policy where you follow these employment processes to the tee. Maintaining and recording these types of dialogues with your employees will come in handy when the relationship goes sour, as it protects you from any unfair dismissal lawsuits that can come your way. For example, formal letters of warning or performance reviews are much more effective than phone calls or in-person meetings where the discussions are not properly recorded.
Make Sure You Acknowledge Your Employee's Response To Disputes
If there are issues or disputes related to performance or behaviour that you've raised with your employee, make sure you give him or her the chance to respond to them. All responses should be put on record – with the acknowledgement of both you and your employee before any decision is made about their future in the business. If you follow the right fairness actions by giving your employee a chance to respond, you will better protect yourself from any legal allegations thrown at you later.
Companies must find ways to protect themselves from expensive commercial lawsuits that could put them out of business, especially when it comes to employment practices.