Dismissal of an employee is hard for the employer and employee. But before you go ahead and dismiss them make sure you are abiding by the Australian dismissal laws.
When dismissing an employee you generally need to provide them with a written warning. This cannot be the day before the notice is given and you need to give the employee a chance to improve on their performance or conduct.
Once you have gone through addressing unsatisfactory performance or conduct and this still has not resolved the issue. An employer may need to use the following steps before terminating the employee’s employment.
Performance and behaviour standards:
Quite often performance and conduct issues come from employees not understanding what is expected of them. An employer should:
- Make sure the employee understands clearly their role, what is expected of them in their performance and conduct at work
- Provide regular performance feedback and inform them of any changes that are needed to their work
Identify and address the issue:
Speak to the employee about performance and behaviour issues. Outline what the employee did or does that is unacceptable and puts and impact on the business.
Explain to the employee in relation to continuing their employment and outline a plan for the employee to follow for them to improve.
You should always keep a written record of any performance/conduct meetings you have had with an employee.
NB. When having a formal meeting with an employee they should always be allowed to be represented or accompanied by a support person.
After your meeting with the employee you should consider providing a written warning. This will outline what the issue was and the steps that need to be taken to improve. It will also provide consequences if performance does not improve and also shows a formal record of the discussion you had with the employee.
Termination of employment letter:
If sufficient time has passed and the employees performance or conduct still has not improved, you may decide to end the employee’s employment. If you terminate the employee’s employment you will need to give the employee written notice of their termination.
When writing the letter of termination you will need to include:
- The reason for the employee’s termination
- Give the notice period or if the employee will be paid in lieu of that notice
- Provide the last working day for the employee
NB. Always get someone to read over the letter of termination. This is to ensure you have not made the letter a personal attack against the employee and nothing in the letter will damage the business.
Provide the employee with the termination of employment letter:
In the termination of employment letter you should have the reasons for being terminated made clear. In the meeting with the employee you will then explain the reasons for termination and give them a chance to ask any questions.
A copy of the dismissal letter should always be kept by the employer. Once the employee has been dismissed ensure you have any company belongings returned before final payment (e.g. Keys, Laptop, and Mobile etc.) is made.
By following the above process this can ensure you are treating the employee with respect and you give them a chance to improve on their performance. If they have not improved on their performance then this is the stage where you would dismiss them. If you are looking for more information on dismissal letters you can go to Fair Work Ombudsman – www.fairwork.gov.au.