For your convenience, our most common customer questions are answered right here:
How do I sack a difficult employee?
You will need a valid reason to dismiss an employee, for example:
- poor performance
- dangerous behaviour
- refusing to follow instructions
- no further need for the position (retrenchment or redundancy)
How do I avoid a claim of unfair dismissal?
By following proper process and observing your legal obligations as an employer around notice and reason, it should help minimise claims of unfair dismissal.
Depending on the circumstances of the dismissal, you may need to consider written warnings, and you should always allow the employee an opportunity to respond to any allegations, and they should normally be given an opportunity to improve any performance issues.
Different unfair dismissal rules apply to businesses with less than 15 staff and are outlined in the Small Business Fair Dismissal Code.
Can I successfully defend a claim of unfair dismissal?
Yes. If you manage the dismissal in a fair, just and reasonable way, and if you fulfill your obligations regarding notice and reason, you should be able to successfully defend a claim of unfair dismissal.
If I sack someone, will I end up before the Fair Work Commission?
Not necessarily. Employer Advisors always work towards settling matters long before they get to the Fair Work Commission.
You should be aware that most cases of unfair dismissal that go to the Commission end up in conciliation before they ever get to a full hearing, where both parties usually come to an agreement, which might mean you have to pay your former employee some compensation to settle the matter.
Can I sack an employee who falls pregnant?
No. Sacking someone for an attribute like pregnancy status, parental responsibilities, race, religion, gender, sexuality or martial status is discrimination and is unlawful.
Can I sack someone for complaining about their wage or the hours they work?
No. It is unlawful to sack somebody for exercising a workplace right, which includes inquiring or complaining about their working conditions, including their pay and work hours.
Can my employee be sexually harassed at the work Christmas party?
Yes. Sexual harassment can happen in conventional work environments like offices, work sites or factories, and it can also happen anywhere that is work related, which means at office parties, work conferences, during drinks and dinners, at hotels, in taxis, and it can also happen on social media.
How do I avoid a claim of sexual harassment?
As an employer, you are vicariously liable for sexual harassment committed by your employees.
The best way to avoid a claim is to take all reasonable steps to prevent it from happening in the first place.
This can include implementing formal training programs to educate all staff about their legal obligations when it comes to sexual harassment, and it is also a good idea to have clear policies in place regarding sexual harassment, and make sure all staff are aware of those policies.
How do I find out how much I am legally required to pay my staff?
The minimum amount of money and entitlements you are legally obliged to pay your staff is set out in the Modern Award that applies to your particular industry.
To find out the obligations that apply to your business, take a look at the Fair Work Ombudsman website, which has details of every award, and also has a calculator to help you work out what you need to pay your staff, including overtime, penalty rates, allowances and entitlements.
What will happen if I get caught underpaying my staff?
If you are caught underpaying your worker’s wages and entitlements, the Fair Work Ombudsman can take you to court to recover any unpaid wages, plus interest.
You could also face fines of up to $12,600 per contravention individually, and up to $63,000 per contravention for your company.
It is not uncommon for businesses to go bankrupt after being caught engaged in wage theft.
How much do we charge to represent you?
We do not operate on an hourly-billing pricing model.
Wherever possible, we will give you a fixed-fee quotation.
We also negotiate a small success fee, where allowable by law.
For a no-obligation quote, please click here.
Where can I find more information?
Please reach out to us through our Contact Us page if you have other questions.
For the latest news and information, you can also follow our main Industrial Relations Claims page on Facebook.